F9 (2021)

F9
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Daniel Casey, Justin Lin
Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious2 Fast 2 FuriousThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftFast & FuriousFast FiveFast & Furious 6, Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious
Cast: Vin DieselMichelle Rodriguez, Jordana BrewsterTyrese GibsonLudacrisCharlize TheronNathalie Emmanuel, John Cena, Finn Cole, Vinnie Bennett, Sung Kang, Anna Sawai, Lucas Black, Shad Moss, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Don Omar, Shea Whigham, JD Pardo, Michael Rooker, Jim ParrackKurt Russell, Jason Statham, Helen Mirren
Seen on: 19.7.2021

Plot:
Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) have chosen a remote life of retirement. But when Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) drop by to tell them about a distress call from Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), Letty is itching to go. Dom is reluctant – until he realizes that somehow his estranged brother Jacob (John Cena) is involved. And he still has some open business with Jacob that he can’t just let go.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I love the Fast and Furious movies, with all of their problems. And I found F9 absolutely satisfying to watch once more. This series just works beautifully.

The film poster showing the main characters in various sizes and poses in front of colorful smoke and above cars, tanks, drones and helicopters.
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The Good Liar (2019)

The Good Liar
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Jeffrey Hatcher
Based on: Nicholas Searle’s novel
Cast: Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Russell Tovey, Jim Carter, Mark Lewis Jones, Laurie Davidson, Phil Dunster, Lucian Msamati
Seen on: 13.12.2019

Content Note: rape

Plot:
Betty (Helen Mirren) meets Roy (Ian McKellen) online and soon a romantic relationship starts between the two of them. Betty’s grandson Stephen (Russell Tovey) is a little suspicious of Roy, and rightly so: Roy is a con artist out to relieve Betty of her money. But maybe this time, he actually starts to have feeling for Betty. And maybe Betty isn’t quite as naive as she seems at first.

You’d think that Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen starring in a film together is all you need to make great entertainment, but The Good Liar proves that a bad story can ruin even that pairing.

The film poster showing Betty (Helen Mirren) and Roy (Ian McKellen). She is wearing a white coat in front of a white background, he is wearing a black suite in front of a black background.

[SPOILERS]

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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce
Spin-off from: The Fast and the Furious series
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Eiza González, Eddie Marsan, Eliana Sua, Cliff Curtis, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, John Tui, Joshua Mauga, Joe Anoa’i, Rob Delaney, Ryan Reynolds
Seen on: 12.8.2019

Plot:
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) hate each other, and that is putting it very mildly. But when a dangerous virus, called The Snowflake, is about to get into the wrong hands, they are asked to put aside their differences and go after it together. It was last seen with MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), as in Deckard’s younger sister. But even though Hattie is keeping it safe at the moment, somebody is still after it and her: Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) who has his own agenda and enhancements to make it happen.

Hobbs & Shaw is a great spin-off form the Fast and the Furious series, hitting just the right tone and style (albeit leaving gaping plot holes with regards to the other films that should not be discussed). I had great fun with it.

The film poster showing the main characters, Big Ben bathed in red light, an explosion, a car, and a motorcycle.
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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Director: Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston
Writer: Ashleigh Powell
Based on: E.T.A. Hoffmann‘s novella The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, as well as the ballet based on this story by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Tom Sweet, Meera Syal, Ellie Bamber, Matthew Macfadyen, Morgan Freeman, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Helen Mirren, Jack Whitehall, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Keira Knightley, Misty Copeland, Max Westwell, Aaron Smyth, Sergei Polunin
Seen on: 26.11.2018
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Plot:
Clara’s (Mackenzie Foy) mother passed away not too long ago, but her father (Matthew Macfadyen) has one last Christmas present from the her for Clara and her siblings. While her siblings’ presents are rather self-explanatory, Clara gets a golden egg that’s supposed to open, but doesn’t. Her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) is the one who made it, so Clara hopes that at his annual Christmas party, she might find more answers. Indeed, he leads her to the key, but before she can reach it, Clara finds herself transported into a completely different world – a world her mother apparently knew intimately. Clara meets the soldier Philipp (Jayden Fowora-Knight), as well as the regents of three of the four realms of that world. Quickly she is deeply involved in the politics of the four realms.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is nice, but doesn’t really come together. Nevertheless, it is entertaining and cute in an entirely unimpactful way.

The film poster showing the main characters in very colorful outfits.
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Winchester (2018)

Winchester
Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Writer: Tom Vaughan, Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Cast: Jason Clarke, Helen Mirren, Sarah Snook, Finn Scicluna-O’Prey, Emm Wiseman, Angus Sampson
Seen on: 21.3.2018
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Plot:
Eric Price (Jason Clarke) is a psychiatrist whose addiction to laudanum is starting to compromise his career. When the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) asks him to come to her house and prove that she is not insane – despite appearances – he accepts, trying to escape his own life and past. But the Winchester estate, constantly under construction, is not only a weird place, something more is going on there. Something that probably won’t end well.

Winchester is a middling film that builds too much on jump scares and too little on characters. It mostly lives of the house itself and while it is a cool house, it’s not enough for the film they made of it.

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The Leisure Seeker (2017)

The Leisure Seeker
Director: Paolo Virzì
Writer: Stephen Amidon, Francesca Archibugi, Francesco Piccolo, Paolo Virzì
Cast: Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland, Christian McKay, Janel Moloney, Dana Ivey, Dick Gregory
Seen on: 10.1.2018
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Plot:
Ella (Helen Mirren) and John (Donald Sutherland) have been married for fifty years. But their health is failing both of them and their children Will (Christian McKay) and Jane (Janel Moloney) are watching them with hawk eyes as a result. Ella and John decide to go for one last adventure together in their RV, The Leisure Seeker, escaping their children’s overprotective custody and off they go.

The Leisure Seeker is a tear-jerker and a very well done one at that. Emotional story and great performances are sure to leave no eye dry. Mine were definitely wet a couple of times.

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Trumbo (2015)

Trumbo
Director: Jay Roach
Writer: John McNamara
Based on: Bruce Alexander Cook‘s biography of Dalton Trumbo
Cast: Bryan CranstonMichael StuhlbargDiane LaneHelen MirrenAlan TudykLouis C.K.Sean BridgersAdewale Akinnuoye-AgbajeElle FanningJohn GoodmanDean O’GormanChristian Berkel
Seen on: 17.3.2016

Plot:
Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is an immensely successful screen writer and at the height of his career – when his affiliation with the Communist Party means that he gets caught up in a political witch hunt and is finally imprisoned and put on a blacklist. And he’s not the only one affected – his family suffers, too, as do quite a few colleagues who also get branded as communists. Unable to work officially, he devises a plan how he and his colleagues may ensure their livelihoods.

Trumbo is pretty much how you’d expect it. It’s expertly crafted and tells an interesting story very well. But it plays everything so safe, it’s hard to get excited about it.

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The Tempest (2010)

The Tempest
Director: Julie Taymor
Writer: Julie Taymor
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s play
Cast: Helen MirrenFelicity JonesDavid StrathairnAlan CummingChris CooperBen WhishawDjimon HounsouRussell BrandAlfred MolinaReeve CarneyTom Conti
Seen on: 16.3.2016

Plot:
Many years ago Prospera (Helen Mirren) was betrayed by her brother Antonio (Chris Cooper). He sent her and her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones) off on a ship so that they may die, but they managed to survive and have been stranded on an island ever since. They are almost the only inhabitants of the island, apart from Caliban (Djimon Hounsou), the spiteful son of the former island ruler, and the sprite Ariel (Ben Whishaw) who both have been enslaved by Prospera’s magic. Their existence is severely disrupted though when a ship sinks just off the island – a ship carrying not only Alonso the King of Naples (David Strathairn), his brother Sebastian (Alan Cumming) and his son Ferdinand (Reeve Carney), but also Antonio. Prospera knows that her time has come at last.

The Tempest is a visually impressive film with a great cast, but it never quite takes off – there are simply too many things that don’t work.

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Woman in Gold (2015)

Woman in Gold
Director: Simon Curtis
Writer: Alexi Kaye Campbell
Cast: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany, Max Irons, Charles Dance, Antje Traue, Elizabeth McGovern, Frances Fisher, Moritz Bleibtreu, Tom Schilling, Justus von Dohnányi, Olivia Silhavy, Ludger Pistor
Seen on: 8.6.2015

Plot:
Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren/Tatiana Maslany) had to flee Austria during the Second World War because she’s Jewish, and has never returned there since she was exiled to the USA and lost most of her family to the Nazis. But after the death of her sister, Maria realizes that she has the responsibility to guard her family’s memories. And part of those memories is the painting of her aunt Adele (Antje Traue), painted by Gustav Klimt (Moritz Bleibtreu), that the Nazsi took from her home and that is now hanging in a federal Austrian museum. As the Austrian government just started hearing restitution claims, Maria asks lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) for help with recovering that painting. They even travel to Austria together, where they meet journalist Hubertus Czernin (Daniel Brühl) who warns them that the Austrian government won’t be cooperative. That proves to be right and Maria and Randy have to dig in for a long fight.

After I read the first reviews, I didn’t expect Woman in Gold to be any good. But I was pleasantly surprised: it’s an engaging and well-made film that is only marred by the German used in the film.

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The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writer: Steven Knight
Based on: Richard C. Moraisnovel
Cast: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon, Amit Shah, Farzana Dua Elahe, Dillon Mitra, Aria Pandya

Plot:
The Kadam family left India after a horrible fire to try and find new luck in Europe. The UK wasn’t so much their thing, so they head for France where they become stranded in a small village where they plan to open a restaurant, especially because son Hassan (Manish Dayal) has a gift for food. But the place they find is right across the street from the Michelin-starred restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). Mallory is taken aback by her new neighbors but Hassan dreams of learning French cuisine.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is not an earth-shattering film but it is sweet and entertaining and despite being a film about cultural differences, it doesn’t hinge on stereotypes (the usual pitfall of movies of its type). I enjoyed it.

The-Hundred-Foot-Journey

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