Amulet (2020)

Amulet
Director: Romola Garai
Writer: Romola Garai
Cast: Carla Juri, Alec Secareanu, Imelda Staunton, Anah Ruddin, Angeliki Papoulia
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 21.9.2020
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Content Note: rape, (trans-)misogyny

Plot:
Tomas (Alex Secareanu) used to be a soldier, but he fled the war and his country and ended up in London where he barely scrapes by, working illegally and living on the streets. After a particular bout of bad luck, Sister Claire (Imelda Staunton) finds him and she is determined to find a new life for him. She suggests that he should move in with Magda (Carla Juri) and her ailing mother (Anah Ruddin). Their house is falling apart around them and Magda is overwhelmed with the care of her mother, so Sister Claire finds the situation to the advantage of everyone involved. And Tomas does settle into the new life, especially since he takes to Magda. A lot. But he also starts to suspect that there is more to the story and her mother.

Amulet starts promising, but the more it revealed, the less it made sense to me. And even more than that: the less I liked it.

The film poster showing a nun, her habit turning into batlike wings.

[SPOILERS]

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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Director: Joachim Rønning
Writer: Linda Woolverton, Noah Harpster, Micah Fitzerman-Blue
Based on: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty / the fairy tale
Sequel to: Maleficent
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Judith Shekoni, Miyavi, Kae Alexander, Warwick Davis
Seen on: 23.10.2019

Plot:
It’s been five years and Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Aurora (Elle Fanning) have found a good way of living with each other and ruling their kingdom. But when Aurora accepts Prince Philipp’s (Harris Dickinson) proposal, things change. And the first thing is that both Aurora and Maleficent have to meet Philipp’s parents (Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Lindsay) and hopefully leave a good impression with them. But something else is afoot, too, that could threaten the entire kingdom.

I really loved the first Maleficent film, so my expectations for this sequel were pretty high, but unfortunately weren’t entirely met. It is an entertaining film, but I was hoping for more.

The film poster showing Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and in her wing several other characters and a castle.
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Downton Abbey (2019)

Downton Abbey
Director: Michael Engler
Writer: Julian Fellowes
Sequel to: the TV show
Cast: Stephen Campbell Moore, Michael Fox, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Robert James-Collier, Hugh Bonneville, Allen Leech, Michelle Dockery, Phyllis Logan, Laura Carmichael, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Geraldine James, Imelda Staunton, Joanne Froggatt, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Douglas Reith, Kevin Doyle, Brendan Coyle, Raquel Cassidy, Charlie Watson, David Haig, Mark Addy, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Goode
Seen on: 15.10.2019

Content Note: homomisia

Plot:
After the Queen and King announce their visit, all of Downton Abbey is on high alert, trying to prepare as best they can for the royal visit. But with Buckingham Palace staff interfering with the regular Downton Abbey staff, and a possible royal spy coming to check on the family, preparing for the visit may be easier said than done.

I watched the show for a while, but I kind of fell out of the habit after a couple of seasons and then figured, I’d watch the film anyway and damn, it doesn’t work at all. In fact, the only thing it really achieved was making me remove the (rest of the) series permanently from my watchlist.

The film poster showing the noble characters in the top half, and the servants in the bottom half.
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Re-Watch: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Sense and Sensibility
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: Emma Thompson [here’s my review of her screenplay and production diaries]
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Gemma Jones, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Greg Wise, Emilie François, James Fleet, Tom Wilkinson, Harriet Walter, Imelda Staunton, Imogen Stubbs, Hugh Laurie, Robert Hardy, Elizabeth Spriggs
Seen on: 20.7.2019
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Plot:
Sisters Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet) couldn’t be any more different. Elinor is always calm, collected and responsible, while Marianne is passionate and impulsive. It is no surprise that they find very different men to like as well – Elinor falling for Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and Marianne for Willoughby (Greg Wise). But whether they will be lucky with their loves is another question entirely.

I am honestly surprised that I never reviewed this film here on this blog so far – I am sure I have watched it several times since I started this blog. Be that as it may, it is one of my favorite films and I don’t know how many times I saw it already. But I love it every time I watch it again and this time is no different.

The film poster showing Marianne (Kate Winslet) in one image as she laughs, and Elinor (Emma Thompson) in another image, smiling softly.
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Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington 2
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King, Simon Farnaby
Based on: Michael Bond‘s books
Sequel to: Paddington
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie WaltersHugh Grant, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Marie-France Alvarez, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ben Miller, Jessica Hynes, Robbie Gee, Richard Ayoade, Brendan Gleeson, Joanna Lumley
Seen on: 9.12.2017
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Plot:
Having settled with the Brown family and in the community, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is happy. And his Aunt Lucy’s (Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday is coming up, so he is looking for the perfect present. He finds it in Samuel Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) shop: a pop-up picture book of London. But he needs a job to earn money to get it – which is not so easy as a small bear. And then it seems that Paddington isn’t the only one interested in the book at all as it gets stolen, and he gets in trouble for it.

As with Coco, I heard a lot of good things about Paddington 2 beforehand, and again I thought that the resulting film was even better than I expected from what I heard before. It’s a wonderful film that had me floating on a pink cotton candy cloud out of the cinema. What more could you ask of a film?

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Director: James MacDonald
Writer: Edward Albee
Cast: Imelda Staunton, Imogen Poots, Conleth Hill, Luke Treadaway
Seen on: 18.5.2017

Plot:
Martha (Imelda Staunton) and George (Conleth Hill) return from a university faculty party in the middle of the night and are swiftly followed by the young couple Nick (Luke Treadaway) and Honey (Imogen Poots) who they invited for a night cap. Nick just started teaching at the university where George has been working for many years. What appears at first as a nice gesture quickly devolves as Martha and George rope the younger couple into their own marital conflicts.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a sometimes exhausting play, but one I couldn’t look away from for quite a few reasons. It really blew me away.

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Paddington (2014)

Paddington
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King
Based on: Michael Bond‘s books
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Matt Lucas, Steve Oram, Alice Lowe

Plot:
The bear Paddingtion (Ben Whishaw) was happily living with his aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) in the Peruvian jungle. But when their home gets destroyed, Lucy sends Paddington to London, hoping that he will find a safe home there, as promised by an explorer who visited them a long time ago. Thankfully shortly after his arrival in London, Paddington meets the Browns –  Mary (Sally Hawkins), Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and their children Judy (Madeleine Harris) and Jonathan (Samuel Joslin). Together they start to look for the explorer to find Paddington his safe place. But not everyone is out to help Paddington.

The trailer for Paddington looked awful, full of unfunny slapstick and grossness. I wanted to see it despite the trailer, but was prepared for the worst. And (apart from the general postcolonial qualms I have about the story) I was pleasantly surprised by the film that is much sweeter and funnier than the trailer made me think it was.

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Pride (2014)

Pride
Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Stephen Beresford
Cast: Ben Schnetzer, George MacKayFaye Marsay, Joseph GilgunPaddy Considine, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, Russell Tovey

Plot:
Mark (Ben Schnetzer) is not only gay, but a big supporter of the miner strike and wants to do his part, especially because he feels that there is a certain kinship – the miners struggle under Thatcher just as much as the homosexuals struggle. So he decides that he will start to raise funds for them, with the help of new to the scene Joe (George MacKay), big-mouthed Steph (Faye Marsay) and flamboyant Jonathan (Dominic West). But it turns out, it’s surprisingly hard to get miners to accept “gay donations”, until finally a Welsh village accepts, not really knowing what they’re in for.

Pride was funny, cute and most charming. It probably isn’t the most complex analysis of the situation, but it gave you an impression while being very entertaining.

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Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent
Director: Robert Stromberg
Writer: Linda Woolverton
Based on: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty / the fairy tale
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Sam Riley

Plot:
When Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) was a young fairy, she met a human boy and they became friends – until Stefan (Sharlto Copley) betrayed her in the worst possible way. Bent on revenge, Maleficent curses Stefan’s baby girl Aurora (Elle Fanning). For Aurora’s protection, three fairies (Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple) remove her from her parents’ castle and raise her. But Maleficent herself is never far from Aurora.

I was really looking forward to Maleficent and my expectations were rather high going in. And they were actually surpassed. I absolutely loved Maleficent.

maleficent[SPOILERS, also for Frozen]

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Three and Out (2008)

Three and Out
Director: Jonathan Gershfield
Writer: Steve Lewis, Tony Owen
Cast: Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Gemma Arterton, Gary Lewis, Imelda Staunton

Plot:
Paul (Mackenzie Crook) is a subway driver who just ran over two people in a couple of weeks. His colleagues tell him that he can get 10 years pay and retirement if he hits a third person in the same month. Since that would be exactly what Paul needs to finally write the book he’s been dreaming of, he tries to find a suicidal person to jump in front of his train on purpose. And he finds that person in Tommy (Colm Meaney) who just wants to set a few things straight before jumping. And for that he needs Paul’s help.

Three and Out is sweet and it has its fun moments, but it’s also pretty predictable and doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

threeandout

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