It Chapter Two (2019)

It Chapter Two
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Sequel to: It
Based on: Stephen King’s novel It
Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden LieberherJeremy Ray TaylorSophia LillisFinn WolfhardChosen JacobsJack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Xavier Dolan, Stephen King
Seen on: 9.9.2019

Content Note: fat hate, homomisia

Plot:
It has been 27 years since the Losers Club – Bill (Jaden Lieberher/James McAvoy), Richie (Finn Wolfhard/Bill Hader), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer/James Ransone), Stanley (Wyatt Oleff/Andy Bean), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor/Jay Ryan), Beverly (Sophia Lillis/Jessica Chastain) and Mike (Chosen Jacobs/Isaiah Mustafa) defeated Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). It’s an episode they have all relegated to the realm of childish fantasy. Now all of them but Mike have left town, living their adult lives elswhere. Until they all receive a call from Mike, asking them to come back – because so has Pennywise.

It Chapter 2 is alright. The horror parts were a little disappointing, and the film was about an hour too long, but I did enjoy the character dynamics, albeit more in theory than in practice.

The film poster showing Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) from the eyes up, with most of the image just white from his giant forehead.
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Dark Phoenix (2019)


Dark Phoenix
Director: Simon Kinberg
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Sequel to: X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jessica Chastain, Scott Shepherd, Ato Essandoh, Brian d’Arcy James
Seen on: 13.6.2019

Plot:
It’s 1992 and mutants and humans have found a way to coexist peacefully. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) still runs his school where he trains and educates young mutants. One of his teachers is Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) who has been at the academy since she was a child herself. She is also one of the X-Men. While on a mission, Jean gets exposed to an ancient, alien power, though, and it changes her – giving her much more power but also less control.

Dark Phoenix was preceded by a wave of bad reviews and I’m sorry to say that they were all right. It really is an abysmal film.

The film poster showing the main characters in X-suits and power stances.
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Molly’s Game (2017)

Molly’s Game
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Based on: Molly Bloom‘s autobiographical book
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, J.C. MacKenzie, Brian d’Arcy James, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Justin Kirk
Seen on: 21.3.2018
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Plot:
Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) used to be an Olympic skier but an injury put an end to her career. Looking for a new way to make a living, she moves to Los Angeles and stumbles into the world of gambling. Sharp and business savy as she is, she quickly moves up and becomes a successful host of high stakes poker games – which in turn puts her into the sight of the FBI.

Molly’s Game is the rare case of a film that reaches its climax with the very first scene. But that’s not the only reason it is ultimately disappointing, despite the excellent cast.

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The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

The Zookeeper’s Wife
Director: Niki Caro
Writer: Angela Workman
Based on: Diane Ackerman‘s non-fiction book
Cast: Jessica ChastainJohan HeldenberghDaniel BrühlTimothy RadfordEfrat DorIddo GoldbergShira HaasMichael McElhatton
Seen on: 18.4.2017

Plot:
Antonina Żabińska (Jessica Chastain) and her husband Jan (Johan Heldenbergh) run the Warsaw Zoo together and things have been going well. That is, until the Germans march into Poland in 1939 and turn their lives upside down. Antonina and Jan remain pretty privileged, although their Zoo is taken apart, the rarest animals shipped to the zoo in Berlin run by Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl) and the grounds are used for German soldiers. But once they realize how bad the situation for the Jews in Warsaw is, they start helping in any way they can.

The Zookeeper’s Wife tells a pretty amazing story about exceptional people and will leave no tearduct untouched. I enjoyed it, as much as you can enjoy a film about the holocaust.

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The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

The Huntsman: Winter’s War
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Writer: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Craig Mazin
Prequel/sequel to: Snow White and the Huntsman
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith, Alexandra Roach, Sope Dirisu, Sam Hazeldine, Sam Claflin, Sophie Cookson, Colin Morgan
Seen on: 23.4.2016

Plot:
Together with many other children Eric (Chris Hemsworth) was drafted/enslaved in the army of Ice Queen Freya (Emily Blunt), Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron) sister. For Freya, who was disappointed in love herself, the most important rule was that there would be no feelings, especially no love, between the children or anybody else for that matter. Despite that, Eric fell in love with Sara (Jessica Chastain), a fellow warrior. Things did not end well. Now many years later, Eric finds himself facing Freya once more after he is charged by King William (Sam Claflin) to bring the dead Ravenna’s magic mirror to a safe space because it is making Snow White dangerously ill.

Snow White and the Huntsman was a spectacular failure, laying the bar very low for The Huntsman: Winter’s War. The film steps easily over that low bar, surpassing expectations. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a high-flying success. But at least Huntsman is way more entertaining than Snow White.

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A Most Violent Year (2014)

A Most Violent Year
Director: J.C. Chandor
Writer: J.C. Chandor
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Albert BrooksElyes Gabel, Elizabeth Marvel, Alessandro Nivola
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 28.10.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is working hard to make the company he has taken over from his wife Anna’s (Jessica Chastain) family a thriving success. But as they can finally make an offer on a plot of land that would give them a significant advantage in the business, they hit a snag: the trucks carrying the oil they are selling keep getting robbed. When Abel tries semi-official channels to try and figure out who’s targeting him, he comes under scrutiny of D.A. Lawrence (David Oyelowo) himself. Now he has only a week to fulfill the stipulations of the deal on the land, keep his business afloat and himself out of jail.

A Most Violent Year is a strong film that is always engaging and has great cast. But it does have a few weaknesses as well.

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Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones
Seen on: 18.10.2015

Plot:
Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) dreams of publishing a book but until that happens, she’s quite happy at home with her father Carter (Jim Beaver). But then Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) come from England to her father with a business proposal and Edith finds herself falling for Thomas. Her father makes inquiries about the Sharpes and is not convinced that Thomas would be a suitable match. But then Carter dies surprisingly and Edith follows the Sharpes to England. But there are ghosts that follow all of them. Literally.

Crimson Peak is the quintessential gothic horror story. It is so much the distillation fo the genre that nothing in it will surprise you, but if you like the genre, you’ll love the beautiful love letter to it that del Toro has crafted with this film.

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The Martian (2015)

The Martian
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Drew Goddard
Based on: Andy Weir’s novel
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica ChastainMichael PeñaKate MaraSebastian StanAksel HennieChiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Benedict Wong, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover
Seen on: 12.10.2015

Plot:
Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is one of five astronauts who come to Mars on a rather routine mission. But then things start going wrong and they have to leave – only that Mark gets injured and to his colleagues he looks like he’s dead. With a heavy heart, they decide to leave without him. But Mark survives miraculously. Now he’s alone. On Mars. With very limited supplies. And a broken communication system. And he only has himself to make his supplies last long enough so that he may be rescued.

Since I really loved the novel the film is based on and the previews I saw for the movie looked great, my expectations for the Martian were pretty high. So when I say that the movie totally fulfilled my expectations, you know that this is high praise indeed.

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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them (2014)

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them
Director: Ned Benson
Writer: Ned Benson
Cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Nina Arianda, Viola Davis, Bill Hader, Ciarán Hinds, Isabelle Huppert, William Hurt, Jess Weixler

Plot:
Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) used to be the perfect couple. But something happened and now they’re not. Eleanor is distant and doesn’t want any contact with Conor and Conor has trouble respecting that boundary. But Eleanor isn’t as done with Conor as it might seem at first and the question remains whether they can find back to each other or not.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby was good but not as great as it could have been. I expected a little more from the concept – TDoER: Them is a cut based on two films, TDoER: Him, which tells events from his perspective, and TDoER: Her, which tells them from hers. But the splice generally feels a little uneven.

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Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaugheyAnne HathawayJessica Chastain, Wes BentleyDavid Gyasi, Michael Caine, Casey AffleckTopher GraceMatt Damon, John LithgowDavid Oyelowo, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie FoyTimothée Chalamet, Ellen Burstyn

Plot:
The earth is dying. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) used to be an engineer, but now he lives on a farm, trying to grow his own food, with his father (John Lithgow), his daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) and his son Tom (Timothée Chalamet). Murphy is convinced that their house is haunted and actually figures out a message – coordinates. Intrigued Cooper drives there and stumbles on the world’s largest space project, trying to find other viable planets. It’s headed by his former professor Brand (Michael Caine) who promptly asks Cooper to join their last chance to find a planet in time. Even though it means leaving his family behind, especially Murphy, Cooper agrees and together with Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), they take off.

Interstellar is a mixed bag of beans. Visually stunning, scientifically apparently accurate, at least for a while (not that I’d really know), and with all around great performances, it nevertheless fails when it comes to the storytelling.

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