55 Steps (2017)

55 Steps
Director: Bille August
Writer: Mark Bruce Rosin
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Hilary Swank, Tim Plester, Jeffrey Tambor, Richard Riddell, Johan Heldenbergh
Seen on: 11.5.2018

Plot:
Eleanor Riese (Helena Bonham Carter) has been in and out of psychiatric facilities for most of her life, so she is intimately aware of what is going wrong there. And what it boils down to that people believe that being in need of psychiatric help means that one can no longer be trusted to make decisions about one’s own treatment. Eleanor really doesn’t think so – and she’s willing to sue the hospital for it. With the help of her new lawyer Colette Hughes (Hilary Swank), she takes up the fight for psychiatric patients everywhere.

55 Steps is probably a nice crash course for the patients’ rights movement. It is an enjoyable film – apart from the catastrophic casting decisions made.

Film poster of 55 Steps, showing Hilary Swank and Helena Bonham Carter.
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The Death of Stalin (2017)

The Death of Stalin
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writer: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows
Based on: Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin’s graphic novel La Mort de Staline
Cast: Adrian McLoughlin, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Brooke, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Andrea Riseborough
Seen on: 11.4.2018

Plot:
1953 in Moscow. Josef Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) has been in power for decades. But now he suddenly dies, leaving a power vacuum that demands to be filled. His right hand men, the Council of Ministers, try to strike the balance between appearing to grieve, not panicking and grabbing for power. Lavrentia Beria (Simon Russell Beale) and Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) quickly become the heads of the biggest two camps in that fight.

I wanted to like The Death of Stalin more than I actually did. It’s well made, of that there’s no doubt, but I was partly very uncomfortable about the jokes they cracked that I felt made light of things nobdy should make light of.

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Trolls (2016)

Trolls
Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Writer: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Based on: Thomas Dam‘s dolls
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, John Cleese, James Corden, Jeffrey Tambor, Ron Funches, Kunal Nayyar, Quvenzhané Wallis
Seen on: 8.4.2017

Plot:
The Trolls live a very happy life, carefree and filled with music and definitely not thinking about the Bergens who are only happy when they can eat Trolls. Nobody more so than Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick). It’s only Branch (Justin Timberlake) who refuses to sing and who fears that the Bergens will be back. Therefore he is constantly trying to prepare for that eventuality. When Poppy throws a big party that actually does attract the Bergens and a few Trolls end up taken, Poppy knows that she has to rescue them. And who could help her better than Branch?

When Trolls came out last year, I decided pretty quickly that I really wasn’t interested in it. I did have Troll dolls when I was a kid, but I was never particularly taken with them and basing a film on them just seemed weird. But my niece loves the film and she wanted to watch it with me, so I did. And it turns out, it’s actually really sweet and funny.

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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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Paul (2011)

Paul is the newest film by Greg Mottola, written by and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and also starring the voice of Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner, Bill Hader and Sigourney Weaver.

Plot:
Clive (Nick Frost) and Graeme (Simon Pegg) are two nerds on a big tour of alien sites in America. Even though both of them are very serious about their alien stuff, neither of them expects to stumble upon an actual alien – much less one with the name Paul (Seth Rogen). But that’s exactly what happens. Paul is running and trying to get home and he quickly enlists both Graeme and the more reluctant Clive to help.

I expected much from Paul, since I absolutely loved Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I don’t think that Paul is quite up there with these two film, but it is a movie that works very well and is very funny, especially for fans of Science Fiction movies who will be delighted by all the references Pegg and Frost get into the film. But also if you’re not completely brushed up on Science Fiction Movie History, you’ll enjoy it.

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Tangled (2010)

Tangled is the newest Disney movie. It was directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard and stars the voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman and Jeffrey Tambor. It’s based on the fairy tale Rapunzel.

Plot:
Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) has spent her whole life in a tower, not allowed to go out because the woman she thinks is her mother (Donna Murphy) wants to keep Rapunzel’s magical hair all to herself. But Rapunzel has plans, in particular, she wants to see the strange floating lights up close that appear every year on her birthday. When the thief Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi) stumbles upon her tower, she sees her chance to get a guide.

Despite a few weaknesses and plot holes, Tangled is definitely the best Disney movie in years. It looks wonderful, is funny and most of all, it’s utterly charming. A great reworking of the old fairy tale.

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The Invention of Lying (2009)

The Invention of Lying is a movie by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson, starring Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Louis C.K., Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, Jeffrey Tambor, Tina Fey, John Hodgman, Jimmi Simpson, Martin Starr, Jason Bateman, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Guest, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton. [Seriously, this movie is like Where’s Waldo?, only with known faces.]

Plot:
In a world, where no human knows how to lie, things can be pretty cruel for a guy like Mark (Ricky Gervais): Not particularly attractive, successful or intelligent – and the world keeps telling him directly. After going out with the beautiful Anna (Jennifer Garner) who shoots him down the next day, being fired and about to be evicted, Mark is ready to just quit. That’s when he tells the world’s first lie. Unsure how he is able to do it or what exactly to do with that new ability, he jus tknows that his life is about to change.

I haven’t heard any good things about this movie beforehand [and it was again one of those films that even get a cinematic release in Austria]. But this movie was actually pretty good – good concept, good jokes and a fantastic cast.

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