Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022)

Three Thousand Years of Longing
Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller, Augusta Gore
Based on: A. S. Byatt‘s short story The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba
Seen on: 13.9.2022

Content Note: orientalism, fatmisia, ableism

Plot:
Alithea (Tilda Swinton) is a narratologist, studying the meaning and function of stories. She travels to Istanbul for a convention where she finds an old bottle at the market. She buys it as a souvenir. When she tries to clean it, she can’t believe it when an actual Djinn (Idris Elba) comes out of the bottle. He needs her to make three wishes. She knows how the stories about wishing end up, that they’re all cautionary tales. So the Djinn tries to convince her by sharing his life story.

Three Thousand Years of Longing is a beautiful, romantic fairy tale that I found honestly engaging and incredibly lovely despite its orientalism and a sequence of fetishizing fatness.

The film poster showing the Djinn (Idris Elba) standing behind Alithea (Tilda swinton), surrounded by carious characters from the film.
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Beast (2022)

Beast
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer: Ryan Engle, Jaime Primak Sullivan
Cast: Idris Elba, Leah Jeffries, Iyana Halley, Sharlto Copley
Seen on: 2.9.2022

Plot:
After the death of his ex-wife, Nate (Idris Elba) takes their two teenage daughters Norah (Leah Jeffries) and Mer (Iyana Halley) to South Africa where their mother came from originally. Meeting up with their old friend Martin (Sharlto Copley), the trip is supposed to reconnect and heal all of them a little. Things are off to a good start when Martin takes them out into the local national park where he works as a vet. But poachers have also been to the park, hunting, hurting and killing lions. Martin, Nate and the kids stumble upon evidence that one lion has started to fight back – and then they find themselves in its crosshair, prompting a desperate fight for survival.

Beast promises us a fight between Idris Elba and a lion, and it does give us that (not like The Grey that promises us Liam Neeson fighting a wolf and then cuts out just before that happens). If you would like more from a movie – like a plot that makes sense or characters that behave believably – you’ll be disappointed. But if that is all you want, go for it.

The film poster showing Nate, bloodied and scratched, holding a big knife.
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Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Thor: Love and Thunder
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Taika Waititi, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Based on: Stan Lee‘s, Larry Lieber‘s and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Sequel to: Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, Kieron L. Dyer, Jaimie Alexander, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Simon Russell Beale, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Matt Damon, Melissa McCarthy
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 15.7.2022

Plot:
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) hasn’t been doing too well after recent events, although he doesn’t look it. Traveling around with the Guardians of the Galaxy to help people, he finds some fulfillment in fighting for the weak. When he hears a cry for help from his old friend Sif (Jaimie Alexander) who tells him about the God Butcher Gorr (Christian Bale) who has been hunting gods all over the galaxy, Thor returns to New Asgard, where King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) leads the rest of the Asgardian refugees. And just in time to find not only Gorr attacking Asgard, but also his ex-girlfriend Jane (Natalie Portman) who has taken up Mjolnir and has also become Thor. Together, they go after Gorr while also trying to figure out where they stand with each other.

Thor: Love and Thunder is a really fun film that surreptitiously tackles some hard topics, ending with a positive message that is a breath of fresh air in the age of movie cynicism.

The film poster showing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a meditative pose wearing a mumu in front of a colorful galactical background. Behind him we can see Jane as Thor (Natalie Portman), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Taika Waititi), as well as a ship drawn by two giant goats. Gorr (Christian Bale) is smiling as a floating head above it all.
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The Suicide Squad (2021)

The Suicide Squad
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Based on: various comic characters
Sequel to: Suicide Squad
Cast: Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Daniela Melchior, David Dastmalchian, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Peter Capaldi, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion, Jai Courtney, Flula Borg, Mayling Ng, Pete Davidson, Sean Gunn, Storm Reid, Alice Braga, Taika Waititi, Pom Klementieff
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 9.8.2021

Plot:
The Suicide Squad has some new recruits and a new mission on Corto Maltese. Instructed by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), they are dropped off on the island that recently saw a regime change. And so, Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), RIck Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) find themselves on different paths to the island capital to gain control of a secret weapon in a stronghold in the city.

I was debating with myself whether I actually wanted to go see The Suicide Squad, given that Suicide Squad wasn’t good (to put it mildly), but ultimately my love for the cast won out. And I’m glad it did – The Suicide Squad is a whole lot of fun.

The film poster showing Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), RIck Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) in a star-like formation, surrounded by explosions.
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Concrete Cowboy (2020)

Concrete Cowboy
Director: Ricky Staub
Writer: Ricky Staub, Dan Walser
Based on: G. Neri‘s novel Ghetto Cowboy
Cast: Idris Elba, Caleb McLaughlin, Lorraine Toussaint, Jharrel Jerome, Ivannah-Mercedes, Jamil Prattis, Method Man, Byron Bowers, Liz Priestley, Michael Ta’Bon, Devenie Young
Seen on: 16.7.2021

Plot:
After one more time getting into trouble, Cole’s (Caleb McLaughlin) mother has had enough and just drops him off with his father Harp (Idris Elba) in Philadelphia. Harp is part of tight-knit community of city cowboys who are keeping their horses in the middle of the town, a thorn in the side of city development, and he has little space for Cole. He literally shares his home with a horse instead. Nevertheless, Cole tries to find a space – if not with the cowboys, then with his old friend Smush (Jharrel Jerome) who has turned to dealing.

Concrete Cowboy is set in a fascinating environment, but I didn’t connect with the story as much as I would have liked. It almost wished, despite the excellent performances, that this was a documentary.

The film poster showing a collage of Cole (Caleb McLaughlin) on a horse, and his father Harp (Idris Elba) wearing a cowboy hat. They are surrounded by flowers, an appartment building and a car.
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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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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth OlsenPaul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Sean Gunn, William Hurt, Letitia Wright, Carrie Coon, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Anthony Mackie, Idris Elba, Samuel L. Jackson, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 2.5.2018

Plot:
Thanos (Josh Brolin) has reached the final stages of his plan: he will collect all of the Infinity Stones and with their power reshape the universe after his own ideas. The hunt for the stones makes him cross paths with the Avengers on Earth, as well as the Guardians and the Asgardian refugees in space, leading to them coming together in a desperate effort to stop him and his plans.

Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of more than a decade of films. That alone makes it a momentous, if not to say monumental film. And it’s not bad per se, but it does feel like a step down from the recent absolute highlights that were Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok.

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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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