The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

The Legend of Tarzan
Director: David Yates
Writer: Adam CozadCraig Brewer
Based on: Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ short stories
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Margot RobbieSamuel L. JacksonChristoph WaltzDjimon HounsouSimon Russell BealeJim BroadbentBen Chaplin
Seen on: 7.8.2016

Plot:
Years ago the man known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) became John Clayton once more and returned from Congo to his home country of England with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie). Now he’s trying very hard to leave his wild past behind him. But then George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) turns up in London, accusing a Belgian/Congolese mining company run by Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) in the name of King Leopold of slave trade. He needs John’s help to prove it, so reluctantly, John agrees to return.

I didn’t expect Tarzan to be very good and it wasn’t. But it did surprise me in some of the ways that it was bad. That’s… an achievement, I guess.

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The Lady in the Van (2015)

The Lady in the Van
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Writer: Alan Bennett
Based on: Alan Bennett’s actual experience with Mary Shepherd
Cast: Maggie SmithAlex Jennings, Jim Broadbent, Deborah Findlay, Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Frances de la Tour, James Corden, Russell Tovey, Alan Bennett
Seen on: 3.6.2016

Plot:
Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) moved to a new neighborhood and he quite like it. Part of the neighborhood is Mary Shepherd (Maggie Smith), a woman living in a van parked in his street. She’s weird, often rough and has issues, but Alan does take a liking to her. So when her existence is threatened because her road is being declared a no parking zone, Alan permits her to park the van in his driveway. What was supposed to be only a temporary solution, turns into a long-term fact and Alan starts to find out more about Mary’s past.

The Lady in the Van was a sweet film, told with a sly sense of humor that keeps the story from turning too dark, even when the realities it faces are harsher. It’s an enjoyable mix, although it stays a little too shallow to use the potential for social criticism it would have.

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Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Eddie the Eagle
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writer: Sean Macaulay, Simon Kelton
Based on: Eddie Edwards‘ life
Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Iris Berben, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Walken, Edvin Endre
Seen on: 6.4.2016

Plot:
Eddie (Taron Egerton) has always had one dream: he will be an athlete. And not just any kind of athelte, an Olympic athlete competing for the UK. No matter the sport and no matter that he is perpetually hurting himself in his attempts. When he realizes that there is no British ski jumping team, he sees his chance and he grabs it. Making his way to Germany to train with absolutely no support apart from his mother’s (Jo Hartley) unflinching belief in him, he meets Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman): Bronson came close to be one of the greats in his sport, but now he makes his money driving the snow groomer. Eddie does everything he can to convince Peary to train with him so that he can take his shot.

Eddie the Eagle is a fun, entertaining film. It’s not a big cinematic revelation, but it’s a very nice watch with a good story and two engaging leads.

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Brooklyn (2015)

Brooklyn
Director: John Crowley
Writer: Nick Hornby
Based on: Colm Tóibín‘s novel
Cast: Saoirse RonanEmory CohenDomhnall Gleeson, Fiona Glascott, Jane Brennan, Julie Walters, Emily Bett Rickards, Jim Broadbent
Seen on: 26.1.2016

Plot:
Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) lives in a small Irish town with her mother Mary (Jane Brennan) and her sister Rose (Fiona Glascott). But Eilis has the chance to get of there and start a new life in the USA, which is exactly what she does. With the help of an acquainted priest (Jim Broadbent) who already lives abroad, she makes her way to New York where she builds a new life for herself. But when she is called back to Ireland, she will have to decide which way she wants her life to go.

Brooklyn was one of those films that is simply extremely nice to watch and enjoy. It hits all the right emotional buttons in a not exactly subtle, but unobtrusive way and pretty much everybody in it is simply adorable.

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Paddington (2014)

Paddington
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King
Based on: Michael Bond‘s books
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Matt Lucas, Steve Oram, Alice Lowe

Plot:
The bear Paddingtion (Ben Whishaw) was happily living with his aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) in the Peruvian jungle. But when their home gets destroyed, Lucy sends Paddington to London, hoping that he will find a safe home there, as promised by an explorer who visited them a long time ago. Thankfully shortly after his arrival in London, Paddington meets the Browns –  Mary (Sally Hawkins), Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and their children Judy (Madeleine Harris) and Jonathan (Samuel Joslin). Together they start to look for the explorer to find Paddington his safe place. But not everyone is out to help Paddington.

The trailer for Paddington looked awful, full of unfunny slapstick and grossness. I wanted to see it despite the trailer, but was prepared for the worst. And (apart from the general postcolonial qualms I have about the story) I was pleasantly surprised by the film that is much sweeter and funnier than the trailer made me think it was.

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Le Week-End (2013)

Le Week-End
Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Hanif Kureishi
Cast: Lindsay Duncan, Jim Broadbent, Jeff Goldblum

Plot:
Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent) have been married for a long time. They’ve decided to go to Paris where they honeymooned way back when, to spend time with each other and to rekindle their relationship a little bit. What looks like an utterly romantic idea and a wonderful weekend, soon starts to crack as tensions between the two of them become apparent.

I think that Le Week-End might have worked fantastically well as a 20 minute short. At feature length it felt thin and became tedious, despite its many good qualities.

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Filth (2013)

Filth
Director: Jon S. Baird
Writer: Jon S. Baird
Based on: Irvine Welsh‘s novel
Cast: James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan, Joanne Froggatt, Shirley Henderson, Iain De Caestecker, Gary Lewis

Plot:
Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is every bad stereotype of a police man: he’s a misanthropic, sexist, racist, power-obsessed asshole who is supposed to investigate the death of a Japanese tourist. Instead he’d rather think about how to get the promotion to Detective Inspector, even though he doesn’t actually like doing his job. But Bruce is not only an asshole, all is not right with him in general. As his convoluted intrigues become ever more complicated, his mental state continues to deteriorate.

Filth isn’t always easily stomached and the ending didn’t blow me away, but other than that I really liked it. It was well-made, well-acted and kept you on the edge of your seat.

Filth

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Re-Watch: Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick FrostTimothy DaltonJim BroadbentPaddy ConsidineRafe Spall, Olivia Colman, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Joe CornishAlice Lowe, David Bradley, Bill Bailey, Stephen MerchantJulia Deakin, Cate Blanchett, Steve Coogan, Peter Jackson
Part of: The Cornetto Trilogy

Plot:
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is London’s star police man. But his success makes the rest of the service look bad, so he is reassigned to the small town of Sandford, where he’s partnered up with Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). Sandford might officially be the safest town in the UK, but Nick’s investigations soon turn up some weird things, when a series of freak accidents start.

Man, I really love this movie. It’s funny, fast-paced and riddled with cameos (some of which I only just learned about, like Peter Jackson and Cate Blanchett). It’s just an absolute joy to watch.

hot_fuzz

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Cloud Atlas (2012)

Cloud Atlas
Director: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Writer: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Based on: David Mitchell’s novel
Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D’Arcy, Xun Zhuo, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Robert Fyfe, Götz Otto

Plot:
Cloud Atlas tells six interlocking stories where the same set of souls cross paths over and over again. In The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, we follow the young notary Adam (Jim Sturgess) on his way back to the US on a ship in the mid 19th century where he meets a doctor (Tom Hanks) and a slave (David Gyasi) who both greatly influence his fate. In Letters from Zedelghem, the young composer Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw), who finds himself in financial difficulties, comes to Belgium to work with Vyvyan Ayrs (Jim Broadbent), a famous but ill composer. In Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery, we read about the journalist Luisa Rey (Halle Berry) who uncovers a conspiracy regarding a power plant which puts her in grave danger. In The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, Cavendish (Jim Broadbent) is a publisher who asks his brother (Hugh Grant) for help to get out of his debts. When the quiet getaway turns out to be a senior home, he seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. In An Orison of Sonmi~451, the clone Sonmi~451 (Doona Bae) tells an archivist (James D’Arcy) her life story from the fast food joint Papa Song where she worked as a waitress until her life took a turn in a very different direction. In Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After, Zachry (Tom Hanks) is one of the few people in the world who survived The Fall. His life with his family gets disrupted when one of the Prescients, who still have technology from the Old Uns, called Meronym (Halle Berry) comes to stay with them.

I didn’t love the book, but I liked it overall. I thought that I would probably feel the same way about the film, with the added advantage that the film would provide me with the stunning visuals the trailer promised. Unfortunately the movie did not work for me at all.

[SPOILERS]

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The Iron Lady (2011)

The Iron Lady
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Writer: Abi Morgan
Cast: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd, Iain Glen, Anthony Stewart Head, Olivia Colman, Richard E. Grant

Plot:
After a long political career, Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) who is slowly losing her grip on her mind and reality, reminisces about her life, career and family, a hallucination of her deceased husband Denis (Jim Broadbent) her constant companion. Born as Margaret Roberts (Alexandra Roach), daughter of a grocer (Iain Glen), she fought her way up, always with the support of Denis (Harry Lloyd).

I did enjoy The Iron Lady. Meryl Streep is amazing and I did like the structure of the script. But I would have wished for a little more of her politics and a little less of her private life.

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