Mystery Road (2013)

Mystery Road
Director: Ivan Sen
Writer: Ivan Sen
Cast: Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten, Jack Thompson, Tony Barry, Robert Mammone, Tasma Walton, Damian Walshe-Howling, David Field, Bruce Spence, Jack Charles, Tricia Whitton, Samara Weaving
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 14.6.2020

Plot:
Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) returned to his hometown in the Outback just in time to investigate the murder of a young native girl – a murder the white rest of the police force doesn’t seem too interested in. Jay soon starts to suspect that the lack of interest may actually be active hampering from his colleagues, let alone the people around who all saw, heard and know nothing. Including Jay’s own daughter (Tricia Whitton) who doesn’t want anything to do with her father, but who knew the victim.

Mystery Road is atmospheric and Pedersen is a great lead, but I constantly felt like I was missing some context to understand what the fuck was actually happening. While that can make the appeal of a film, in this case, it was completely frustrating for me.

The film poster showing a lone car on a dirt road and the heads of three of the main characters.
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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, and other books of his
Sequel to: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Prequel to: The Lord of the Rings
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam BrownOrlando BloomEvangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Lee Pace, Manu Bennett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mikael Persbrandt, Hugo WeavingChristopher LeeBilly Connolly

Plot:
The dwarves and Bilbo (Martin Freeman) have roused Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Smaug is on his way to lay waste to Laketown. But Bard (Luke Evans) manages to save the town from that fate by killing Smaug. Now the Lonely Mountain can be claimed by Thorin (Richard Armitage), who immediately starts looking for one particular gem – the Arkenstone – and slowly succumbs to dragon sickness. In the meantime various armies start to gather outside the Lonely Mountain, all with a different claim on the treasure and/or the people within.

I thought that the last installment of the movie really was quite disappointing. I mean, neither of the three can live up to The Lord of the Rings anyway, but at least Desolation of Smaug was entertaining. Battle of the Five Armies was too much battle, too little coherence and way too much Alfrid.

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Re-Watch: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger
Director: Joe Johnston
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Toby Jones, Samuel L. Jackson
Part of: Marvel movies
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) dreams only of one thing: he wants to be able to do his duty for  his country and fight in WW2. Unfortunately, he is small and sickly and is never accepted into the army, unlike his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan). During one last attempt to sign up, he meets Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci). Erskine is convinced he sees the right morality in Steve to take part in his experiment: Erskine is trying to develop a supersoldier. Steve jumps at the chance – but that’s only the beginning of his journey.

I had forgotten how bad this movie actually was. I mean, it’s entertaining and the cast is brilliant and it does have its funny script moments, but generally it is not a movie that is very thought through.

captain_america

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, and other books of his
Prequel to: The Lord of the Rings
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Lee Pace, Manu Bennett, Bret McKenzie, Benedict Cumberbatch

Plot:
Many, many years ago, there were dwarves living in Erebor, amassing huge riches until they were attacked by the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). They lost their mountains, their gold and were scattered in many directions. Now Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) last descendant of Erebor’s king, is ready to get it all back. So he put together a group of loyal dwarves, but asks the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to find a 14th member for their party. Gandalf recruits the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). Bilbo is reluctant – as a hobbit, he generally doesn’t think much of adventures or leaving home at all – but he is finally convinces and so all of them set off for a great adventure. An adventure that proves more dangerous and connected to more things than initially assumed.

For practically anybody of about my age (and of a nerdy/geeky persuasion), the Lord of the Rings films were more than just movies – they were events that opened me and my friends up to many things, but especially to the intricacies of internet fandom and all that entails. It seems clear that 10 years later the Hobbit can’t quite reach that status anymore. But An Unexpected Journey is a film that I enjoyed for the most part.

The_Hobbit _An_Unexpected_Journey

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Cloud Atlas (2012)

Cloud Atlas
Director: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Writer: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Based on: David Mitchell’s novel
Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D’Arcy, Xun Zhuo, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Robert Fyfe, Götz Otto

Plot:
Cloud Atlas tells six interlocking stories where the same set of souls cross paths over and over again. In The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, we follow the young notary Adam (Jim Sturgess) on his way back to the US on a ship in the mid 19th century where he meets a doctor (Tom Hanks) and a slave (David Gyasi) who both greatly influence his fate. In Letters from Zedelghem, the young composer Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw), who finds himself in financial difficulties, comes to Belgium to work with Vyvyan Ayrs (Jim Broadbent), a famous but ill composer. In Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery, we read about the journalist Luisa Rey (Halle Berry) who uncovers a conspiracy regarding a power plant which puts her in grave danger. In The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, Cavendish (Jim Broadbent) is a publisher who asks his brother (Hugh Grant) for help to get out of his debts. When the quiet getaway turns out to be a senior home, he seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. In An Orison of Sonmi~451, the clone Sonmi~451 (Doona Bae) tells an archivist (James D’Arcy) her life story from the fast food joint Papa Song where she worked as a waitress until her life took a turn in a very different direction. In Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After, Zachry (Tom Hanks) is one of the few people in the world who survived The Fall. His life with his family gets disrupted when one of the Prescients, who still have technology from the Old Uns, called Meronym (Halle Berry) comes to stay with them.

I didn’t love the book, but I liked it overall. I thought that I would probably feel the same way about the film, with the added advantage that the film would provide me with the stunning visuals the trailer promised. Unfortunately the movie did not work for me at all.

[SPOILERS]

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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger* is the newest film by Joe Johnston, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on the comic books by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and starring Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Toby Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.

Plot:
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) dreams only of one thing: he wants to be able to do his duty for  his country and fight in WW2. Unfortunately, he is small and sickly and is never accepted into the army, unlike his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan). During one last attempt to sign up, he meets Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci). Erskine is convinced he sees the right morality in Steve to take part in his experiment: Erskine is trying to develop a supersoldier. Steve jumps at the chance – but that’s only the beginning of his journey.

After the buzz Captain America got, I was expecting a movie that was actually good – and was surprised how craptastic the film actually was. I was still entertained very much. But there were many moments of entertainment out of ridiculousness.

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is Zack Snyder‘s first animated movie based on Kathryn Lasky‘s novels and stars the voices of Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, David Wenham, Anthony LaPaglia, Abbie Cornish and Ryan Kwanten.

Plot:
Soren (Jim Sturgess) and his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) are two owls almost ready to leave their nests. Inspired by their attempts to fly, they want to practice more after their parents left for the nightly hunt and promptly fall down the tree. Before they can figure out a way back up, they are snatched up by two owls who bring them to the “True Bloods”*, a group of basically Nazi Owls who abduct young owls to build an army and to harvest something they call flecks; metal flakes that seem to have a magical (and very adverse) effect on owls. While Kludd embraces the True Bloods’ ideology, Soren makes a desperate attempt to find the legendary Guardians of Ga’Hoole: warrior owls sworn to protect other owls.

The movie has a good plot and nice, if a little stereotypical characters (nothing too bad). But most of all, it’s visually absolutely stunning. Here’s a movie that’s actually worth to see in 3D.

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The Wolfman (2010)

The Wolfman is the remake of the 1941 movie. It was directed by Joe Johnston and stars Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Anthony Hopkins, Geraldine Chaplin and Hugo Weaving.

Plot:
After the mysterious disappearance and subsequent death, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns home for the first time in years. Home he finds his brother’s fiancée Gwen (Emily Blunt), his pretty psychopathic father (Anthony Hopkins) and a huge-ass monster that promptly attacks him…

You know, deadra summed this movie up with: “Huh?!-lol-eww-wtf-NEEDLES!!!-eww-lol-huh?!?-WTF?!??” which, minus the needles, is pretty much the perfect summary for me, too. This movie is bad, people. Really bad. But in some instances (unfortunately they are too few) it’s also curiously entertaining.

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