Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ comic
Sequel to: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Cast: Taron EgertonMark StrongHanna AlströmJulianne MooreColin FirthMichael GambonChanning TatumHalle BerryElton JohnJeff BridgesPedro PascalBruce Greenwood 
Seen on: 20.9.2017
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Plot:
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has very much settled into being a Kingsman agent, and into dating Swedish Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström). But just when everything seems to calm down, a devastating attack that strikes at the very heart of the Kingsman HQ leaves Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) the only survivors of the agency. When they follow emergency procedure, they discover that there is another agency in the USA: Statesman. They fly there to look for help in tracking down their attacker.

I very much enjoyed the first Kingsman film and was very much looking forward to this sequel, but unfortunately I was disappointed with it, despite some pretty good ideas.

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The Limehouse Golem (2016)

The Limehouse Golem
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Writer: Jane Goldman
Based on: Peter Ackroyd‘s novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem
Cast: Douglas BoothOlivia CookeSam ReidMaría ValverdeDaniel MaysBill NighyPeter SullivanEddie Marsan
Seen on: 6.9.2017
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Plot:
Limehouse, London has turned into a terrifying place after a series of murders has taken place. Inspector John Kildare (Bill Nighy) is finally called in to investigate and he senses a connection to music hall star Elizabeth Cree (Olivia Cooke) who has been accused of poisoning he husband on the very night of the last of the killings. He starts interviewing Lizzie and is soon determined to solve both cases.

The Limehouse Golem is okay, neither particularly great, nor particularly bad – although it would have probably benefitted from a push in either direction. As is, it is a little too bland to be really memorable.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Jane Goldman
Based on: Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children trilogy
Cast: Asa ButterfieldElla PurnellFinlay MacMillanLauren McCrostieHayden Keeler-StoneGeorgia PembertonMilo ParkerRaffiella ChapmanEva GreenSamuel L. JacksonJudi DenchRupert EverettAllison JanneyChris O’DowdTerence Stamp,
Seen on: 5.11.2016

Plot:
Jacob (Asa Butterfield) has always been very close to his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp) who told him all kinds of stories of his childhood in an orphanage led by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), among children that all had very special gifts. Only as Jacob grew older, he stopped believing in those stories. Then his grandfather is attacked and Jacob sees a strange monster that nobody else is able to see. He is unsettled, to say the least and convinces his father (Chris O’Dowd) to head to Cairnholm, the island where his grandfather’s orphanage was, to find out more about his past and to hopefully be able to separate fact from fiction.

I read the first book of the trilogy and I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about it, so I didn’t have high expectations about this film. And rightly so. Miss Peregrine’s Home is a decidedly mediocre affair with the best thing about it that they actually finish the story and are obviously not banking on an entire trilogy of films.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ comic
Cast: Colin FirthTaron Egerton, Mark StrongSophie Cookson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Hanna Alström, Jack Davenport, Mark Hamill, Michael Caine
Seen on: 20.03.2015

Plot:
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a specialist for getting in trouble. When he’s arrested and facing actual jail time, he calls a number on his dead father’s medal that Eggsy got from a co-worker of his father, with the instruction to call if he ever needed help. A short while later Eggsy is released and introduced to Harry Hart (Colin Firth). It turns out that Eggsy’s father belonged to a privately run spy organization – the Kingsman and Hart still works there. The Kingsmen have taken some serious hits recently and are recruiting. Hart sees potential in Eggsy and so Eggsy finds himself in an entirely unknown world a short while later – not only the spy world, but also the mostly snooty upper class.

Kingsman was a fun film that proves not only Vaughn’s talent for directing action movies with awesome soundtracks, but also that the spy genre can be made fun of very easily and very lovingly. It is not completely issue-free though, even if the good parts outweigh the issues.

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Re-Watch: Kick-Ass (2010)

Kick-Ass
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage, Lyndsy Fonseca
[Here is my first review.]

Plot:
Dave (Aaron Johnson) is a normal teenager who likes to read comic books and gets beat up a lot. But then one day he decides that, actually, nothing is keeping him from donning a superhero suit and changing the world for the better. This seems to work fine for about 30 seconds and then Dave is in over his head.

Damn, I had forgotten just how fricking awesome this film is. I still have a couple of issues but I left the film absolutely hyped. It’s fantastic.

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[SPOILERS]

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The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black
Director: James Watkins
Writer: Jane Goldman
Based on: Susan Hill‘s novel
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds

Plot:
The young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) gets the job to take care of the estate of a recently deceased woman in a small town. So he leaves his small son (Misha Handley) at home with his nanny (Jessica Raine) to travel to the middle of nowhere. But when he arrives there, things quickly become very weird. And the estate Arthur has to work in seems to be haunted by a less than benevolent spirit.

There are two things that keep The Woman in Black from being a really good movie: 1, Daniel Radcliffe’s inability to act and 2, the ending that had me rolling my eyes so hard. But it’s an otherwise wonderfully moody movie with some good scares.

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The Debt (2010)

The Debt
Director: John Madden
Writer: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan
Based on: Ha-Hov [I haven’t seen it. Yet.]
Cast: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciarán Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, Marton Csokas, Jesper Christensen

Plot:
1997: Rachel (Helen Mirren) is a retired Mossad agent. Her daughter is launching her book about Rachel’s most important assignment when Rachel’s ex-husband Stephan (Tom Wilkinson) brings her the message of David’s (Ciarán Hinds) suicide. In 1966, Rachel (Jessica Chastain), Stephan (Marton Csokas) and David (Sam Worthington) were in Germany together on said assignment: they were supposed to find the Nazi doctor Jürgen Vogel (Jesper Christensen) and bring him back to trial in Israel.

The movie is absolutely excellent. The cast is great, the story (while not completely surprising) was tense and I was completely involved. It did have some weaknesses but they hardly mattered.

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X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men: First Class is Matthew Vaughn‘s newest film, written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, January Jones and Michael Ironside.

Plot:
Erik (Michael Fassbender) survived the Nazi concentration camps, mostly because he has the power to move metal and scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) wanted to study him. After the end of the war, Erik starts continually hunting down Nazis, trying to get at Shaw.
At the same time, Charles (James McAvoy) is a leading scientist in the field of genetic mutation – and himself a telepath. He is approached by CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) who saw Shaw with a couple of mutants and tries to figure out what’s going on. Charles and his adoptive sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who can take on the form of other people, start working with the CIA and pretty soon the cross paths with Erik.
Despite their different backgrounds, Erik and Charles start working together to find other mutants – and to get at Shaw.

X-Men: First Class is not a perfect film – but it’s pretty damn close. The performances are mostly amazing, the script is intelligent, the action is wonderful and there is a lot of fodder for discussion.

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