Justice League (2017)

Justice League
Director: Zack Snyder, Joss Whedon
Writer: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon
Based on: Gardner Foxteam-up of superheroes
Sequel to: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry CavillGal Gadot, Ezra MillerJason MomoaRay Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, David Thewlis, Billy Crudup
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 19.11.2017
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Plot:
After the death of Superman (Henry Cavill) Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Ben Affleck) tries to put together a team of superheroes. Diana aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is already on board, but the recruitment of other team members is more difficult. Arthur Curry aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa) isn’t interested, Barry Allen aka The Flash (Ezra Miller) is very willing but also not easily pinned down and Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher) might even be dead. But when Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) attacks Diana’s home Themyscira to acquire an artefact, gathering forces becomes an even more pressing issues.

I expected bad things from Justice League and was pleasantly surprised by what we got. That’s not to say that Justice League is a good film overall, but at least it has its moments.

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The Accountant (2016)

The Accountant
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Writer: Bill Dubuque
Cast: Ben AffleckAnna KendrickJ.K. SimmonsJon BernthalJeffrey TamborCynthia Addai-RobinsonJohn Lithgow
Seen on: 9.11.2016

Plot:
Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) has discovered irregularities in her company’s accounts. So an external accountant is called in to look at the books – Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck). Wolff is usually more occupied with keeping the accounts of criminal organizations, but since he’s being investigated by the Treasury Department in the form of Ray King (J.K. Simmons), a legitimate job seems like a good idea at this moment. But when Wolff confirms Cummings’ suspicions, people start dying and soon he finds himself deeply involved.

The Accountant’s claim to fame is the fact that Christian Wolff is an autistic character/action hero. Other than that it doesn’t really have anything unusual to offer, but it’s a decent film.

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La La Land (2016)

La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan GoslingEmma StoneRosemarie DeWittJ.K. SimmonsFinn WittrockJosh PenceJohn LegendTom Everett Scott
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 2.11.2016

Plot:
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist who dreams of owning his own club and devoting his life to saving jazz as he loves it. Mia (Emma Stone) is an actress and playwright who dreams of the big career and works hard to finally get her breakthrough. No better place for either of their dreams than Los Angeles, where they meet and, despite initial antagonism, fall in love.

I was lucky enough to see La La Land pretty early, before it really became the smash hit it has since gone on to become with the accompanying blowing out of proportion of its qualities and the resulting backlash. And I have to say that I was very much charmed by the film and its two protagonists. Did I think it deserved all of the love it was getting? Not really. Did I think it deserved all the hate? Definitely not. It’s sweet, fun and entertaining, nothing more, nothing less.

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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.

zootopia

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Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator Genisys
Director: Alan Taylor
Writer: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier
Sequel to: Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Byung-hun Lee
Seen on: 21.7.2015

Plot:
Since the machines have taken over the world, John Connor (Jason Clarke) has been leading the human resistance. To make sure that he can actually do that, John has to make sure that he is actually born as the machines sent a killer back in time to kill his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) before she gives birth. So John sends his best friend Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) in the past as well, giving him specific instructions on how things are. But as Kyle arrives in the past, he finds that it doesn’t actually match John’s memories. So he has to figure out how to navigate this changed past.

After Terminator Salvation, I was prepared for this film to be extra bad. So I packed my trusted bottle of alcohol and steeled myself for atrociousness. But while there could have been a second bottle of alcohol, easy, I found that I was honestly entertained by Terminator Genisys, despite the astonishing amount of stupidity contained within. Or maybe because of it.

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Whiplash (2014)

Whiplash
Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Andrew (Miles Teller) studies at the conservatory to be a drummer. A jazz drummer, to be exact. When the renowned professor Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) is looking for a new drummer for his school jazz band, Andrew does everything he can to get the coveted spot – and succeeds. But Fletcher’s teaching methods are built on abuse – only the ones with star potential will make it through. And Andrew is convinced that that’s him.

Whiplash is a tense, well-made and exciting film with a completely fucked-up message. The entire film I was hoping that it would end in exactly the opposite way than it did – and that ending makes me hesitant to really applaud the otherwise excellent film.

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Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Jennifer’s Body
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Diablo Cody
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Megan Fox, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody, J. K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris, Cynthia Stevenson, Chris Pratt

Plot:
Jennifer (Megan Fox) and Needy (Amanda Seyfried) have been best friends since about forever, even though by now Jennifer is the school’s most popular girl and Needy is kind of a geek. But everything changes when the two of them head to a concert by the up and coming band Low Shoulder. The band plans to insure their success by sacrificing a virgin – a plan that horribly backfires when they mistakenly think that Jennifer was one. Suddenly Needy finds herself with a pretty evil best friend.

I was one of the few people who were not utterly enchanted by Juno and also Jennifer’s Body didn’t convince me of Diablo Cody’s writing in general. That being said I did like this movie much better than I thought I would. Especially every time it got out its sense of humor.

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Contraband (2012)

Contraband
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
Remake of: Reykjavík Rotterdam
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Lukas Haas, Caleb Landry Jones, David O’Hara, Diego Luna, J. K. Simmons

Plot:
Chris (Mark Wahlberg) used to be a smuggler (and a damn good one). But when he got a wife (Kate Beckinsale) and kids, he quit. Unfortunately, his brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) isn’t as smart or as good a smuggler and so he gets into trouble with Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) who hired him to smuggle drugs Andy promptly had to dump. Briggs threatens Chris and his family and pressures him into a job. And so Chris and his best friend Sebastian (Ben Foster) get their old group together to get counterfeit money into the country.

Contraband is so formulaic, it practically becomes its own archetype. Unfortunately that’s the only thing that stands out about the film.

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Megamind (2010)

Megamind is Tom McGrath‘s newest animated film, starring the voices of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller and J. K. Simmons.

Plot:
Megamind (Will Ferrell) gets sent away by his parents because his world is swallowed by a black hole*. At the same time but from another planet close-by, Metro Man (Brad Pitt) is sent on his way, too. They arrive on our earth and while Metro Man lands in a mansion, Megamind is dropped in a prison. So it’s no wonder that Megamind grows up to be a supervillain. But when he actually succeeds and kills Metro Man, he has to show what he’s really made of.

Megamind was mostly meh. It has some nice moments, it’s not badly done, but it left me cold. I even fell asleep for a few minutes in the middle**.

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Up in the Air (2009)

Up in the Air is the newest movie by Jason Reitman, starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Melanie Lynskey, J. K. Simmons and Zach Galifianakis.

Plot:
Ryan (George Clooney) works for a company who fire people for other companies. He’s good at his job and he loves the life that comes with it – loads of travelling, no real responsibility for anybody, barely any contact. When his young colleague Natalie (Anna Kendrick) proposes a system to fire people via webcam, he takes her on the road to show her the reality of the job. Around the same time he meets the attractive business woman Alex (Vera Farmiga) and starts an affair with her. Slowly he begins to question his whole lifestyle.

Up in the Air is probably not the best movie you’ll ever see (like the various award nominations would have you believe). Nevertheless, it’s a very nice movie, full of vivid characters, wonderful performances and a good sense of humour.

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