Molly’s Game (2017)

Molly’s Game
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Based on: Molly Bloom‘s autobiographical book
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, J.C. MacKenzie, Brian d’Arcy James, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Justin Kirk
Seen on: 21.3.2018
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Plot:
Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) used to be an Olympic skier but an injury put an end to her career. Looking for a new way to make a living, she moves to Los Angeles and stumbles into the world of gambling. Sharp and business savy as she is, she quickly moves up and becomes a successful host of high stakes poker games – which in turn puts her into the sight of the FBI.

Molly’s Game is the rare case of a film that reaches its climax with the very first scene. But that’s not the only reason it is ultimately disappointing, despite the excellent cast.

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The Mountain Between Us (2017)

The Mountain Between Us
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Writer: Chris Weitz, J. Mills Goodloe
Based on: Charles Martin‘s book
Cast: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Beau Bridges, Dermot Mulroney, Linda Sorensen
Seen on: 18.12.2017
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Plot:
Ben (Idris Elba) and Alex (Kate Winslet) meet by chance at the airport in Denver where flights are being canceled due to the bad weather. Since Ben is scheduled to perform a surgery and Alex is supposed to get married, they really do need to get out of there, though. Realizing that they are both in the same boat, Alex suggests a solution: she knows a pilot, Walter (Beau Bridges), who can take them to their connecting flights on a private plane. They leave – but the plane crashes and Ben and Alex find themselves stranded on top of a mountain with nobody knowing where they are.

The Mountain Between Us is a nice romance film that is constantly being hampered by a bad adventure film that tries to push itself to the center of attention, making the entire thing a very weird experience.

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher L. Yost
Based on: Stan Lee‘s, Larry Lieber‘s and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Sequel to: Thor, Thor: The Dark World
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom HiddlestonMark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Taika Waititi, Rachel House, Clancy Brown, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Matt Damon, Ken Watanabe
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 4.11.2017
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Plot:
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is fighting to prevent Ragnarok – the end of the world. Having successfully defeated the demon Surtur, he returns to Asgard, only to find Loki (Tom Hiddleston) posing as their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). After having located the real Odin, he tells Thor and Loki that Ragnarok is still coming: the real threat is their sister Hela (Cate Blanchett). It doesn’t take long for Hela to appear and show how much of a threat she really is.

Thor: Ragnarok is probably the best Marvel film to date. It’s entertaining, full of queer (and also straight) aesthetics and had me in literal tears it’s so funny. It’s absolutely lovely.

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The Dark Tower (2017)

The Dark Tower
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Writer: Akiva GoldsmanJeff PinknerAnders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel
Based on: Stephen King’s series of novels
Cast: Idris ElbaMatthew McConaugheyTom TaylorDennis HaysbertJackie Earle HaleyFran KranzAbbey LeeKatheryn Winnick
Seen on: 16.8.2017
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Plot:
Jake (Tom Taylor) has been having visions. Visions of Roland (Idris Elba) who has been on a quest since about forever, trying to keep the Dark Tower that keeps the universe together from falling. But the Tower is under attack from Walter (Matthew McConaughey) and his henchmen. Jake finally connects with Roland for real, realizing that he has a bigger part to play in Roland’s quest than anyone knew.

The Dark Tower is a catastrophe, but as an adaption of the novels (that I haven’t yet all read) and as a film in its own right. Since I heard nothing good about the film beforehand, my expectations were already low, but the film still limbo danced under them with ease.

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100 Streets (2016)

100 Streets
Director: Jim O’Hanlon
Writer: Leon Butler
Cast: Idris Elba, Gemma Arterton, Tom Cullen, Ryan Gage, Kierston Wareing, Franz Drameh, Ken Stott, Charlie Creed-Miles, Ashley Thomas
Seen on: 6.4.2017

Plot:
Within a few blocks in London, different lives intersect. Emily (Gemma Arterton) and Max (Idris Elba) have had better times as a couple. As former rugby player Max descends into drugs, adultery and aggression, Emily finds herself a new old lover in Jake (Tom Cullen). Meanwhile cab driver George (Charlie Creed-Miles) and his wife Kathy (Kierston Wareing) are trying to have a baby, but have to opt for adoption which proves to be a new challenge. And Kingsley (Franz Drameh) has been sentenced to community service at the local cemetery with caretaker Terrence (Ken Stott) who sees Kingsley’s artistic potential.

Before stumbling on 100 Streets, I thought, “A film with Idris Elba and Gemma Arterton aka two of the hottest people currently on earth who also happen to be talented as fuck and favorites of mine? HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF THIS?” Having seen the film now, I know: some films are deservedly unheard of.

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Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Star Trek Beyond
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Simon PeggDoug JungRoberto OrciPatrick McKayJohn D. Payne
Based on: Gene Roddenberry‘s TV show
Sequel to: Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon PeggJohn Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris ElbaSofia BoutellaJoe TaslimLydia WilsonDanny PudiGreg GrunbergShea Whigham
Seen on: 26.7.2016

Plot:
The Enterprise is about halfway through their five year mission of exploring uncharted space. But five years is a long time and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) starts wondering about other career options. Before things get very far, though, they all land at Starbase Yorketown. The base has recently rescued Kalara (Lydia Wilson), a scientist whose ship was attacked. The Enterprise is sent off to rescue the rest of Kalara’s crew, but things don’t go as planned: instead the Enterprise is destroyed and the crew is stranded on the planet Altamid.

Star Trek Beyond was an entertaining film again and – to a non-Trekkie like me – it felt like the trekkiest of the new films so far. There are still a whole lot of plot holes and not everything worked flawlessly for me, but I had fun watching it.

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Bastille Day (2016)

Bastille Day
Director: James Watkins
Writer: Andrew Baldwin, James Watkins
Cast: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Charlotte Le Bon, Kelly Reilly, Anatol Yusef, José Garcia
Seen on: 1.7.2016

Plot:
Michael Mason (Richard Madden) is a talented pickpocket, financing his life in Paris that way. But then one night he steals the wrong bag from Zoe (Charlotte Le Bon) – a bag that contains a bomb. When it explodes, killing four people, it’s Michael who is hunted as a terrorist. He is arrested by CIA agent Sean Briar (Idris Elba) who reluctantly starts to believe Michael, but isn’t willing to let him go. Instead he enlists him to help in the hunt after the real terrorists and Michael doesn’t really have a choice but to do what Briar says.

Bastille Day is not groundbreaking, but it is a fast-paced and fun action film that uses its cast to the best advantage and has an excellent soundtrack. I enjoyed it.

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The Jungle Book (2016)

The Jungle Book
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Justin Marks
Based on: Rudyard Kipling‘s books
Remake of: The Jungle Book
Cast: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, Garry Shandling
Seen on: 27.4.2016

Plot:
A few years ago, the panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) found a human baby and decided he couldn’t just let it die. So he brought it to the wolves Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) and Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) who raised him as their own. Now the baby – Mowgli (Neel Sethi) – has grown into a child who feels perfectly at home in the jungle. But the tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) will not suffer a human in the jungle. With the threat of murder in the air, Bagheera decides that the safest option is to bring Mowgli back to the humans.

The Jungle Book is a weird film. On the one hand, it stays extremely close to the animated Disney version, on the other hand it often enters grimdark territory. That makes for a very weird mix that made me scratch my head more than once.

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Zootopia (2016)

Zootopia
Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
Writer: Jared Bush, Phil Johnston
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, Kristen Bell (in a small cameo)
Seen on: 13.3.2016

Plot:
Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) has always dreamed of becoming a police officer. And although there has never been a bunny police officer before, she fights her way through the academy and into active duty in the capital – only to be relegated to doling out parking tickets. But even then she promptly finds con man Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), although she can’t actually arrest him. But when carnivores start going crazy and threaten the peace of Zootropolis, Judy realize that there are bigger fish to fry – and that she needs Nick’s help to catch them.

Zootopia is a sweet, funny, entertaining film that might not be quite as progressive as it thinks it is. But that’s debatable and it certainly is very good to watch.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett JohanssonJames SpaderAaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth OlsenPaul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Linda Cardellini, Claudia Kim, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 26.04.2015

Plot:
The Avengers – that is Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – have become quite a team. In their most recent take-down of Hydra men, they managed to get back Loki’s scepter. Before Thor can take it back to his world, Tony and Bruce ask to analyze it and they discover a form of intelligence inside of the scepter. They decide to use it to try and create an AI as a defense program. They succeed and said program – Ultron (James Spader) – comes to life. Unfortunately he has his own vision of what a safe world looks like and the Avengers have to face Tony’s and Bruce’ creation.

I really loved the last Avengers movie, and this sequel has many of the same strengths. Unfortunately it also has a lot more problems than the first one, especially when it comes to plot and character development. Nevertheless I really enjoyed myself.

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