Their Finest (2016)

Their Finest
Director: Lone Scherfig
Writer: Gaby Chiappe
Based on: Lissa Evans‘ novel Their Finest Hour and a Half
Cast: Gemma ArtertonSam ClaflinBill NighyRichard E. GrantHenry GoodmanRachael StirlingJack HustonAmanda RootEddie MarsanHelen McCroryJeremy Irons
Seen on: 19.7.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
It’s the middle of World War II, times are tough and Catrin (Gemma Arterton) needs a job as her husband Ellis (Jack Huston), an artist, doesn’t make enough money to keep them afloat. She gets hired as a scriptwriter for propaganda films and quickly gets saddled with the task of writing the supposedly unimportant women’s dialogue. When she hears about a story about two young women who participated in the Dunkirk evacuation, she brings the idea for an entire film – which makes her co-author to Tom (Sam Claflin) and handler to the aging star Ambrose (Bill Nighy).

Their Finest is a beautiful, fantastic film that touches on many things, but most of all it pulls on heartstrings in the perfect way.

Continue reading

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Writer: Burr Steers
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, which is in turn an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Emma Greenwell
Seen on: 12.6.2016

Plot:
Early 19th century, England: A strange plague has befallen the land and the dead are rising. In the middle of all this confusion is the Bennett family. Mr Bennett (Charles Dance) has trained his daughters Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady) and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) in the deadly arts, but their mother (Sally Phillips) tries everything to get them married. So it is just as well, when two new young men enter their social lives – Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth), amiable and sweet and Mr Darcy (Sam Riley), arrogant and proud. Will the Bennett sisters find their perfect guys and not get eaten by unmentionables?

After my experience with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was very much prepared for needing all my sarcasm and irony (and alcohol) to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Turns out that many of my fears were unfunded – P&P&Z is often intentionally hilarious, even if it does have some weaknesses.

prideandprejudiceandzombies Continue reading

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Hail, Caesar!
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Veronica Osorio, Heather Goldenhersh, Alison Pill, Max Baker, Clancy Brown, David Krumholtz, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lambert, Fred Melamed, Jack Huston, Michael Gambon
Seen on: 21.2.2016

Plot:
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) fixes problems for a big movie studio. And boy, are there ever problems: Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), the biggest star they currently have, is missing, possibly abducted. Star DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is pregnant und unmarried. Director Laurnce Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) needs a new star for his film and the only guy available is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), talented stunt cowboy but acting is a whole other story. And the twin journalists Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton and Tilda Swinton) are snooping around for a story, each in her own way and for her own column. And if all of that wasn’t enough, Eddie has an attractive job offer on the table he needs to decide on soon.

After the recent rather serious outings of the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar! is a return to comedy, and a very successful one at that. The film is a romp through the studio cinema of the 50s, with the only drawback that they’re reproducing the white-maleness of those films as well. Other than that, though, it is simply fun.

hailcaesar Continue reading

Kill Your Darlings (2013)

Kill Your Darlings
Director: John Krokidas
Writer: John Krokidas, Austin Bunn
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Elizabeth Olsen, Kyra Sedgwick
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 14.6.2014

Plot:
Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) gets a place of university and isn’t unhappy to get away from home, where his mentally ill mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) makes his life difficult, the relationship with his father (David Cross) is strained. At university, Allen meets Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) and is immediately fascinated by him and his reckless lifestyle. Lucien introduces him to David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and Jack’s wife Edie Parker (Elizabeth Olsen). Allen realizes that something strange is going on between Lucien and David, but is swept up in the anarchistic energy that envelops Lucien, William, Jack and him. But the harmonious and fun beginnings soon give way to difficulties and tensions.

I am still a little undecided about this film. The cast is really good, the story is interesting and it’s all packaged into a film that is mostly fine but lacks something I can’t put my finger on.

killyourdarlings Continue reading

American Hustle (2013)

American Hustle
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell, Eric Warren Singer
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Peña, Shea WhighamAlessandro Nivola, Saïd Taghmaoui

Plot:
Irving (Christian Bale) is a con man who finds a new partner in all things in Sydney (Amy Adams), despite being married to Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). But then police man Richie (Bradley Cooper) catches them in the act and decides to use them to convict the mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) of corruption. But things keep on spiraling out of control.

I can imagine that American Hustle would have been a good film if somebody other than David O. Russell had made it. Or if Russell had found a consistent tone in which to tell his story. But as is the movie was just a mess.

american-hustle

Continue reading

Night Train to Lisbon (2013)

Night Train to Lisbon
Director: Bille August
Writer: Greg Latter, Ulrich Herrmann
Based on: Pascal Mercier‘s novel Nachtzug nach Lissabon
Cast: Jeremy Irons, Martina Gedeck, Jack Huston, Mélanie Laurent, Lena Olin, August Diehl, Bruno Ganz, Tom Courtenay, Charlotte Rampling

Plot:
Raimund (Jeremy Irons) is a teacher who leads a rather lonely life. But it takes a sudden turn, when he keeps a young woman from comitting suicide who leaves her coat with him. Inside that coat he finds a book and train tickets to Lisbon. The book resonates with him, so on a whim he boards the train to find the author of the book. But instead of finding the author, he finds a whole story of love and betrayal during António de Oliveira Salazar‘s dictatorship.

There is only word I can use to describe Night Train to Lisbon: boring. It was so boring, I fell asleep for half an hour during the film. And despite cutting the movie short that way, it was still way too long.

night_train_to_lisbon

Continue reading

Mr. Nice (2010)

Mr. Nice
Director: Bernard Rose
Writer: Bernard Rose
Based on: Howard Marks‘ autobiography
Cast: Rhys Ifans, Chloë Sevigny, David Thewlis, Crispin Glover, Jack Huston

Plot:
Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans) is a Welsh small-town nerd who manages to get into Oxford university. But as soon as he hits the big city, he quickly gets tangled up in drugs. And since he doesn’t really do things half-assed, he is not content in smoking pot, but he starts his own successful drug business as Mr. Nice, together with IRA member Jim McCann (David Thewlis). But there’s only so many drugs a person can sell until the police will get involved.

I have to admit that I didn’t really research this film before going in. I just saw the cast and thought that I wanted to see it. If I had known more about it, I might have been better prepared. But I don’t think that I would have enjoyed the 60s-drug-dealer-romanticism any more had I known that it was coming.

Continue reading