Life (2017)

Life
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Cast: Ryan ReynoldsRebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dykhovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare
Seen on: 29.3.2017

Plot:
Six astronauts/scientists on the International Space Station study samples that have just been successfully collected on Mars. They hope to find out more about the conditions on Mars, but what they find instead is actually life: a single cell organism that’s either dead or dormant – but it’s there. They can barely contain their excitement, especially when their attempts to revive the organism are actually successful. But they have never encountered a live form like this – and it quickly turns out that it’s more than they bargained for.

Life is a decent, albeit derivative film that works pretty well – at least if you don’t keep comparing it with the Alien franchise it is a little sibling of.

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Re-Watch: Sunshine (2007)

Sunshine
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Cillian MurphyMichelle YeohTroy GarityRose ByrneHiroyuki SanadaBenedict WongChris EvansCliff CurtisMark Strong
Seen on: 27.11.2016

Plot:
2057. The sun is dying and the only solution humanity has found is to send a team of astronauts there to reignite it with a fission bomb or else find all of life on earth doomed. The first mission, Icarus-I, to do just that has already failed, now a new team, Icarus-II, is on its way. When they pick up the distress signal of the Icarus-I, they decide to pick up the bomb that the ship has aboard, as a failsafe for their own mission. But that bomb may come at a higher price than they expected.

When I watched Sunshine for the first time, I remember not being particularly taken with it. But it was one of those films where I started getting doubts about my own judgement and that made me curious to check it out again almost 10 years later. And in this case, it definitely paid off, although I still didn’t fall head over heels for it, I did appreciate it much more than the last time.

[SPOILERS]

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Mr. Holmes (2015)

Mr. Holmes
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Jeffrey Hatcher
Based on: Mitch Cullin‘s novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, which in turn is based on Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes stories
Cast: Ian McKellen, Milo Parker, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hattie Morahan, Patrick Kennedy, Roger Allam, Philip Davis, Frances de la Tour
Seen on: 4.1.2016

Plot:
Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) is getting old. His mind starts failing him, but he knows that he still has one last open case that he wants to finish. So from his quite farmhouse, where he lives with the housekeeper Ms Munro (Laura Linney) and her son Roger (Milo Parker), he tries to comb his memory for the clues he missed back then. Curious Roger meanwhile manages to become a kind of confidant for Sherlock as they tend to the bees together and Sherlock tells him everything he remembers about the case.

Mr Holmes wasn’t bad, exactly, but it was pretty boring and rather sexist, so the good parts of the film didn’t really work out for me either.

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The Railway Man (2013)

The Railway Man
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Paterson
Based on: Eric Lomaxautobiography
Cast: Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Tanroh Ishida, Sam Reid, Hiroyuki Sanada
Seen on: 6.7.2015

Plot:
Eric (Colin Firth) meets Patti (Nicole Kidman) by chance on a train and the two of them immediately hit it off. a short while later they get married and Pattie discovers that Eric is still stuck in his war experiences: as a young man (Jeremy Irvine), he was a prisoner in a Japanese labor camp for a good while and is now suffering from PTSD. When his best friend Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard) brings him a news report that shows his tormentor from back then, Takeshi (Hiroyuki Sanada), now working at a memorial of the labor camp and Eric decides to go back and make him suffer.

Railway Man is way too long and has so many issues I couldn’t like it one bit, despite the great cast.

The-Railway-Man[SPOILERS]

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47 Ronin (2013)

47 Ronin
Director: Carl Rinsch
Writer: Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini
Based on: the history of the 47 Ronin (very loosely)
Cast: Hiroyuki Sanada, Keanu Reeves, Ko Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi, Tadanobu Asano, Min Tanaka, Jin Akanishi, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rick Genest

Plot:
Ôishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) is the head samurai of Lord Asano (Min Tanaka), so when Asano dies due to Lord Kira’s (Tadanobu Asano) use of magic through a witch (Rinko Kikuchi), Ôishi becomes ronin. Against Shogun Tsunayoshi’s (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) express orders, Ôishi and the rest of the ronin decide to revenge their master. And for that they need the help of Kai (Keanu Reeves), a foundling who was taken in by Asano as a young boy who was always mistreated by the samurai but who has some incredible gifts. Kai agrees, mostly to save Mika (Ko Shibasaki), Asano’s daughter.

47 Ronin should have been a spectacle, close to I, Frankenstein in entertainment value and (lack of) intelligence. And while there were a few things that came close to spectacular and a few things that came close to pure stupidity, altogether it was pretty disappointing.

47Ronin

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The Wolverine (2013)

The Wolverine
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Mark Bomback, Scott Frank
Based on: Roy Thomas‘, Len Wein‘s and John Romita Sr.‘s character
Sequel to: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (kinda, though more like X-Men: The Last Stand)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee, Ken Yamamura, Famke Janssen

Plot:
Since Jean’s (Famke Janssen) death, Logan (Hugh Jackman) has given up on being the Wolverine and lives a hermit’s existence. But he is tracked down by Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who works for the rich business man Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi). Yashida is dying and he would like to see Logan again who saved his life during WW2. Grudgingly, Logan flies to Tokyo, only to discover that things aren’t quite as clear cut. While he tries to figure everything out, protecting Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto) becomes his priority.

The Wolverine is made of dumb. Did I expect it to be a good move? No. But I did think that somebody somewhere would have thought about the script and/or plot for more than five seconds. Apparently not.

The-wolverine

[SPOILERS]

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