Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Writer: Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman
Based on: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s comic
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoë Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine, Natalie Morales, Edwin H. Bravo, Oscar Isaac, Greta Lee, Stan Lee
Seen on: 17.12.2018
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Plot:
When Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is bitten by a radioactive spider, he finds himself facing a whole new set of problems – as if starting a new school wasn’t enough. But then he has to watch as Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) kills Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Chris Pine) who tries to keep Kingpin from using a dimension-crossing machine, and things get even worse. That’s when Miles stumbles upon yet another Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Jake Johnson) and he realizes that he might be able to find other Spider-Men in other dimensions. If they team up, they may stand a chance against Kingpin, although not all of them are of equal help.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse got a whole lot of advance prasie and all of it was absolutely deserved. In fact, I felt that it actually surpassed my expectations. It was funny, hit all the right emotional notes and was visually really interesting. Absolutely fantastic.

The film poster showing Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as Spider-Man jumping high over the skyline of New York.
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Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)

Pitch Perfect 3
Director: Trish Sie
Writer: Kay Cannon, Mike White
Sequel to: Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2
Cast: Anna KendrickHailee SteinfeldBrittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Ester Dean, Hana Mae LeeChrissie Fit, Anna Camp, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Lithgow, DJ Khaled, Ruby Rose
Seen on: 8.1.2018
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Plot:
The Bellas have graduated and have to face the real world – a world that doesn’t give much about acapella groups. But when they are offered the chance to go on an USO tour of Europe, they decide to go for it: one last big splash before the rest of their lives. But touring with other (non-acapella) bands isn’t as easy as they thought and their own insecurities make things even harder.

After the (racist) catastrophe that was Pitch Perfect 2, I hadn’t planned on seeing Pitch Perfect 3. But then circumstances aligned and I ended up seeing it anyway. I have to say that it was definitely better than the second film, though it still wasn’t great.

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The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

The Edge of Seventeen
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Writer: Kelly Fremon Craig
Cast: Hailee SteinfeldHaley Lu RichardsonBlake JennerKyra SedgwickWoody HarrelsonHayden SzetoAlexander Calvert
Seen on: 25.4.2017

Plot:
Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) feels that she doesn’t fit in with the world around her. Certainly not her brother Darian (Blake Jenner) who is simply perfect. The only person who understands Nadine and who shares everything with her is her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). So it really throws Nadine for a loop when Krista starts dating Darian of all people. Nadine decides she has to look for new friends. But candidates are not easy to find. There’s her grumpy teacher Mr Bruner (Woody Harrelson), and the slightly dorky Erwin (Hayden Szeto) who’s probably into Nadine. And there is the dreamy Nick (Alexander Calvert) who is everything Nadine dreams about.

The Edge of Seventeen is funny and sweet and cute, but it didn’t get all the points in my book it could have gotten with just a few minor adjustments.

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Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

Pitch Perfect 2
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Writer: Kay Cannon
Sequel to: Pitch Perfect
Cast: Anna KendrickHailee SteinfeldBrittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, Ben PlattAdam DeVine, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Hana Mae LeeChrissie FitBirgitte Hjort SørensenFlula Borg, Anna Camp, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Hodgman, Snoop Dogg, David Cross, Keegan-Michael Key
Seen on: 31.5.2015

Plot:
The Barden Bellas have been quite successful for the past few years, when a new catastrophe hits: their by now huge show falls completely apart, right when they are performing for the President. Banned from college competitions afterwards, their only chance of making up for the massive blunder is by winning the World Championship of Acappella. But that won’t be easy: the championship takes place in Europe, where everybody hates the USA, Beca (Anna Kendrick) got an internship at a music studio which takes up a lot of her time and the formerly strong friendship between the women is crumbling.

Pitch Perfect 2 was completely disappointing. I really enjoyed the first film (even with a couple of hesitations) and I even re-watched it before seeing this one, but unfortunately PP2 enhanced all the worst parts of PP and didn’t improve anything else.

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The Homesman (2014)

The Homesman
Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Writer: Tommy Lee Jones,Kieran Fitzgerald, Wesley A. Oliver
Based on: Glendon Swarthout‘s novel
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, David Dencik, William Fichtner, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep
Seen on: 06.01.2015

Plot:
At the very west of the settling effort in the USA, three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) have a psychotic break and there are no options for help in the settlements and their husbands (David Dencik, William Fichtner, Jesse Plemons) are partly overwhelmed and partly cruel, but generally of not much use. Reverend Dowd (John Lithgow) suggest that the women should be taken back east to get some help, and the only one willing to do that is Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) who is trying to build her life in the west on her own. Mary Bee stumbles upon George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been left to hang, and saves his life, but demands that he come with her to bring the women to safety. And so the five of them set off on the dangerous trek, despite the general unwillingness of everybody involved but Mary Bee.

The Homesman could have been a good film, if it hadn’t been for George Briggs and the movie’s obsession with him.

the-homesman[SPOILERS]

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Begin Again (2013)

Begin Again
Director: John Carney
Writer: John Carney
Cast: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam LevineHailee Steinfeld, James Corden, Mos Def, Catherine Keener, Rob Morrow, CeeLo Green

Plot:
Dan (Mark Ruffalo) is a producer. Or rather, he used to be – these days he’s mostly drinking and despairing at the state of the music industry, while his estranged wife Miriam (Catherine Keener) and equally estranged daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld) grow ever more frustrated about it. After he loses his job, despite having funded the company he worked for together with his friend Saul (Mos Def), he hits a new low. That’s when he hears Gretta (Keira Knightley) sing and falls in love with her music. But Gretta sees herself as a songwriter only and is not interested in a career as a singer, especially since she just had a bad break-up with her newly made superstar of a boyfriend (Adam Levine). But Dan convinces her that they should record an album together.

Begin Again [German title absurdly enough “Can a Song Save Your Life?”] might not be quite as magical as Once was, but it is a sweet film with a very nice soundtrack that I enjoyed a lot.

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True Grit (2010)

True Grit is the newest film by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis and starring Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper.

Plot:
After the murder of her father by Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) decides to hire a marshall to track Chaney down and bring him to justice. She finds Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a grumpy drunk who has the reputation to be effective. She hires him and, together with Texas ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) who has been tracking Chaney for a while, they set out to get justice.

True Grit is yet another proof of the Coen Brothers Rule: I love every second movie I see by them*. And True Grit is a second film. It was brilliant, with great performances, wonderful cinematography and a nice sense of humor.

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