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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Spectre (2015)

Spectre
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth
Based on: Ian Fleming‘s James Bond novels
Sequel to: Casino Royal, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall
Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Monica Bellucci, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear, Judi Dench
Seen on: 10.11.2015

Plot:
The 00 program is still reeling from recent (forced) restructures. Now M (Ralph Fiennes) has to fight to keep it going at all as C (Andrew Scott) tries to establish a more technological data gathering approach to spying. Meanwhile, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a mission. A mysterious message from the old M (Judi Dench) reaches him, sending him to a funeral in Italy and with it right in the middle of Spectre – a secret organization that seems to have its hand in every major global event.

I’m not a huge Bond fan – which is probably why I enjoyed the most recent efforts in the franchise (well, apart from Quantom of Solace) as it seemed a step away from the worst of Bond’s inherent sexism. Plus, they were good actions films. Spectre, unfortunately, is a jump back into the 70s and with it, into all the Bond-pitfalls that the Craig-Bond-era has at least partly avoided. I was disappointed.

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Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Christopher McQuarrieJez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Based on: Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton

Plot:
Humanity is at war with aliens and slowly losing. William Cage (Tom Cruise) is the face of the United Defense Force. But just the face – until he is sent into combat by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson). Cage practically has to be dragged there and is promptly killed by an alien – only to awake again about 12 hours before his death. Together with the war heroine Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who has been through the same thing, he tries to put an end to the aliens.

Edge of Tomorrow is an exciting film with great special effects. It leaves no action movie cliché unfeatured, but it does so most charmingly. If you’re able to accept that this film will give you only tried and true tropes, storytellingwise, you’re in for a really good time.

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Fair Game (2010)

Fair Game is Doug Liman‘s newest movie, based on the story of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.

Plot:
Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) is a CIA operative, working on Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Middle East at the beginning of the Iraq war. Even though her department is adamant about there not being any WMDs in Iraq, it’s their information that gets cited for the reasons of the Iraq war. When Valerie’s husband Joe (Sean Penn), a former ambassador, speaks up, suddenly Valerie’s cover is blown and she finds herself caught between a rock and a hard place.

Fair Game has excellent actors, a mediocre script and abysmal directing. That makes for a watchable, but also missable movie. The politics are interesting, but I didn’t feel like we got to hear something new. Maybe I’m too much of a cynic to be impressed by the utter assholery of the American government.

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