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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London Has Fallen (2016)

London Has Fallen
Director: Babak Najafi
Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John
Sequel to: Olympus Has Fallen
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Radha Mitchell, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Alon Aboutboul
Seen on: 13.3.2016

Plot:
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is about to resign from his job in the Secret Service as the bodyguard of President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), despite the fact that he and Asher are very close indeed. But Mike’s wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) is expecting and he wants to take it more slowly when the kid arrives. Before that, though, news that the English Prime Minister died reaches Asher. It’s clear that like most of the world’s most prominent politicians, Asher will have to attend the funeral in London and Mike will come with him. But an event like that is the perfect place for an attack – which is just what happens, leaving Mike and Benjamin stranded in London, fighting for survival.

I really hadn’t planned on seeing this. I pretty much hated Olympus Has Fallen (much preferring White House Down) and so putting myself through the sequel seemed like a non-starter. But then puzzledpeaces made puppy eyes at me and I found myself packing a whole lot of alcohol and resigning myself to my fate. It turns out that London Has Fallen is not necessarily a better film than Olympus Has Fallen, but it is more entertaining. Do take that as the very faint praise it is, though.

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RoboCop (2014)

RoboCop
Director: José Padilha
Writer: Joshua Zetumer
Remake of: RoboCop
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot:
OmniCorp are a robotics company who have been trying to get their robots on the ground in the USA as well. But people there don’t trust the judgement of robots. So when police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured by a bomb that was attached to his car, OmniCorp jumps at the opportunity. They ask Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), to take the parts of Alex that are still functional and build a half-human, half-robot police officer with it. But that combination isn’t easily pulled off and even after it is, there are still problems to be encountered.

There were some things that I liked about the film but in fact the most entertaining thing about it was standing around with my friends for an hour afterwards and bitching about all its failures. And there were plenty of those.

robocop

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Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Tony Kushner
Based on: Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Haley, Bruce McGill, Tim Blake Nelson, Joseph Cross, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Costabile, Walton Goggins, David Oyelowo, Lukas Haas, Dane DeHaan

Plot:
In the middle of the US American civil war, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) got reelected for his second term of presidency. And he uses that position to make another push to finally do away with slavery in the US for good by adding an amendment to the constitution. But he faces a lot of opposition, not only from the Democrats, but also from within his own Republican party. As the war draws closer to its end, Lincoln and his staff have to work really hard to pass the amendment in time.

Oh boy, Lincoln is one hell of a boring movie. It’s really long, and it feels even longer. The cast is generally fantastic, but the script is unfocused and Steven Spielberg is really off his game in this one.

Lincoln

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Dark Shadows (2012)

Dark Shadows
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on: the TV show
Cast: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Chloe Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Christopher Lee, Alice Cooper

Plot:
At the end of the 18th century, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) and his family emigrate to America, where they build up a town and acquire a lot of wealth. With them came Angelique (Eva Green) and her family as servants. Angelique falls in love with Barnabas. But when he tells her that he doesn’t share her feelings, she gets so angry that she curses him to be a vampire, kills the woman he loves and buries him for almost 200 years.
In 1972, Barnabas is freed and returns to his family – or what remains of it. But also Angelique is still there and ready to pick things up right where they left them.

I was not one of the people bemoaning yet another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration – I usually like when they work together and the trailer for this film looked perfectly charming. But unfortunately the film was very disappointing.

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Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island is the newest movie by Martin Scorsese, based on the book by Dennis Lehane and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson and Jackie Earle Haley.

Plot:
US Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are called to Shutter Island, a mental institution to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young woman (Emily Mortimer). As soon as they reach the island, a storm hits and they are prevented from leaving. Haunted by his own ghosts from the past, Teddy soon discovers that things are not what they seem on Shutter Island.

While the story is mostly good and Scorsese delivers fine work, the movie hinges on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance. And boy, does he ever deliver… It was terrific to watch.

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Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen is the adaptation of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Here’s my review of that), directed by Zack Snyder and starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffery Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson.

Plot:
In a parallel world, it’s 1985 and Nixon is still president of the United States. In the 40s, actual masked vigilantes appeared, which led to a ban in the 70s. Now, most of the vigilantes are retired. The story follows several of these more or less retired figures, namely Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman), Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
The Comedian is murdered and Rorschach, the only vigilante left, who is not retired and doesn’t work for the government is convinced that someone is killing off their old group. His investigations lead him deeper and deeper into the problematic world of the “superheroes”.

I was afraid that movie would suck because the original material is just so complex and layered and it’s hard to get this into one movie that still makes sense. But Snyder and his writers (David Hayter and Alex Tse) did a very good job, changing the right things, while still sticking close to the original. Though there are weaknesses in writing where they deviate from the original material. Despite some cringe-worthy scenes, it’s definitely a movie that I enjoyed.

watchmen

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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