Game Night (2018)

Game Night
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Writer: Mark Perez
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti
Seen on: 12.3.2018
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Plot:
Max (Jason Bateman), Annie (Rachel McAdams), Sarah (Sharon Horgan), Ryan (Billy Magnussen), Kevin (Larmone Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) have a regular game night together. Tonight, Max’ brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is hosting the party, when men come into his house and take him away. Believing it to be a roleplay, the six players set out to get Brooks back. But things may be more serious than they appear at first.

I didn’t expect much from Game Night and basically just watched it because I had a gap in my schedule where it fit perfectly. But I was pleasantly surprised: Game Night is an entertaining film that made me laugh out loud.

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The Post (2017)

The Post
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Zach Woods, Pat Healy
Seen on: 1.3.2018
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Plot:
Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) has anonymously leaked documents to the New York Times that prove the atrocities of the USA in Vietnam. The Post, newly managed by Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) who took over after the death of her husband, doesn’t want to fall behind and finds Ellsberg for more information. Soon The Post finds itself under big pressure from the government not to publish and Kay has to make big decisions.

The Post is a film full of pathos. There’s nothing wrong with that and it works emotionally. It’s just a little too safe in its choices, making it feel a little dusty. But (unfortunately) not out of date.

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Bridge of Spies (2015)

Bridge of Spies
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, John Rue, Billy Magnussen, Amy Ryan, Austin Stowell, Jesse Plemons
Seen on: 28.12.2015

Plot:
When Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) gets arrested for being a Russian spy in the USA, the FBI want to make really sure that his conviction sticks. So they ask lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) to defend Abel. Donovan is well known for being scrupulous and correct. Even though Donovan knows how much hatred will come his way if he defends a known spy, he accepts Abel as a client. A decision that has far-reaching consequences as it leads to Donovan being asked to handle the negotiations about the release of an USAmerican soldier who was captured by the Russians.

It fells like Bridge of Spies went almost completely unnoticed, despite the fact that it’s the newest Spielberg film with Tom Hanks. There was barely any marketing and nobody seemed to show much interest in the film at all. I myself almost didn’t watch it. This obscurity (well, obscurity for a Spielberg movie) is a fate the film certainly doesn’t deserve.

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Black Mass (2015)

Black Mass
Director: Scott Cooper
Writer: Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth
Based on: Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill’s book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob
Cast: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, David Harbour, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, Julianne Nicholson, W. Earl Brown, Bill Camp, Juno Temple
Seen on: 11.11.2015

Plot:
Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) runs one of the more powerful crime syndicates in Boston. But he does have his rivals. That’s when ambitious FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) approaches him. Connolly knows Bulger of old and he’s eager to make a name for himself, so he suggests that Bulger could become a FBI informant. That would give him more freedom in his affairs and it would help Connolly’s career by taking out plenty of bad guys – all of Bulger’s enemies.

Black Mass covers many years. Unfortunately it also feels like it lasts many, many years. It was such a boring film, I ultimately lost the battle against sleep and drifted of for a few minutes in-between.

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The Program (2015)

The Program
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: John Hodge
Based on: David Walsh‘s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong
Cast: Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Lee PaceGuillaume Canet, Jesse Plemons, Dustin Hoffman, Edward Hogg, Denis Ménochet
Seen on: 21.10.2015

Plot:
Journalist David Walsh (Chris O’Dowd) is impressed by newcoming cyclist Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster), but Lance’s career doesn’t quite take off. But Lance has the will to win. When he realizes that doctor Michele Ferrari (Guillaume Canet) has a special program – which consists of doping, among other things – Lance wants in on it. Ferrari declines at first but when Lance loses a lot of weight due to testicular cancer, Ferrari does see a viable candidate in him after all. Lance starts on the program, but Walsh grows suspicious of his incredible success and decided to investigate.

I couldn’t care less about cycling and I think doping is just stupid. These are not exactly the best starting points for watching the film and might explain the lengths I felt in an otherwise excellent movie.

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The Homesman (2014)

The Homesman
Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Writer: Tommy Lee Jones,Kieran Fitzgerald, Wesley A. Oliver
Based on: Glendon Swarthout‘s novel
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, David Dencik, William Fichtner, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep
Seen on: 06.01.2015

Plot:
At the very west of the settling effort in the USA, three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) have a psychotic break and there are no options for help in the settlements and their husbands (David Dencik, William Fichtner, Jesse Plemons) are partly overwhelmed and partly cruel, but generally of not much use. Reverend Dowd (John Lithgow) suggest that the women should be taken back east to get some help, and the only one willing to do that is Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) who is trying to build her life in the west on her own. Mary Bee stumbles upon George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been left to hang, and saves his life, but demands that he come with her to bring the women to safety. And so the five of them set off on the dangerous trek, despite the general unwillingness of everybody involved but Mary Bee.

The Homesman could have been a good film, if it hadn’t been for George Briggs and the movie’s obsession with him.

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The Master (2012)

The Master
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons, Ambyr Childers, Rami Malek, Joshua Close, Laura Dern

Plot:
Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) has returned from serving in the navy in WW2, but the war has left him in pieces. Now he drifts from job to job, fueled by home-brewed alcohol. By chance he stumbles upon Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a self-made and rather successful cult leader of The Cause. Dodd, or Master as he is also called, and his wife Peggy (Amy Adams) take Freddie in, hoping to cure him and Freddie falls head first into The Cause.

The Master is an intriguing piece of cinema. It’s unusual in the way it tells its story and perfectly acted, even if it does run a tad too long. But to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to do with it.

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