The Lion King (2019)

The Lion King
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Jeff Nathanson
Remake of: The Lion King
Cast: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Oliver, James Earl Jones, John Kani, Alfre Woodard, JD McCrary, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Penny Johnson Jerald, Keegan-Michael Key, Eric André, Florence Kasumba, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Amy Sedaris, Chance the Rapper [I saw the German dub, though]
Seen on: 9.8.2019
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Plot:
Mufasa (James Earl Jones) rules the lions and the other animals in his valley. He has a son, Simba (JD McCrary), who is poised to inherit everything. But Mufasa’s brother Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is plotting against both of them – and succeeds. And so, Simba finds himself exiled and what used to be his kingdom taken over. Will he find the courage to fight for his people?

The original Lion King was “my” Disney movie – probably my favorite, certainly a very formative one – it just hit me at exactly the right age. Given this fact and the fact that I find these remakes mostly unnecessary, I was pretty much decided to not watch this film at all. But then I had a cinema date with my nieces and they chose this film and I ended up seeing it anyway (and in German to boot, though since I knew all the songs and so on in German anyway, that’s not that much of a deal in this case). This is all to say, I went into the film with trepidation and I left it very impressed by the visuals.

The film poster showing Mufasa standing with small Simba on a rock as the sun sets.
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Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther
Director: Ryan Coogler
Writer: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole
Based on: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Part of: Marvel movies
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Florence Kasumba, John Kani, Isaach De Bankolé, Stan Lee
Seen on: 16.2.2018
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Plot:
After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has to return to Wakanda to claim the throne. Returning means reuniting with his friends and family. But the transition of power is a delicate time. And there is more than one threat to Wakanda and T’Challa’s rule.

I didn’t hear a single bad word about Black Panther before I saw it, so my expectations were pretty high. And I’m happy to say that they were absolutely more than fulfilled. Black Panther is a visually, narratively and politically strong film that’s also simply entertaining.

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr.Sebastian Stan, Scarlett JohanssonAnthony Mackie, Don CheadleJeremy Renner, Chadwick BosemanPaul BettanyElizabeth OlsenPaul RuddEmily VanCampTom HollandDaniel BrühlFrank GrilloMartin FreemanWilliam Hurt, Marisa TomeiJohn KaniJohn SlatteryHope DavisAlfre WoodardStan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 1.5.2016

Plot:
After the recent events surrounding the Avengers, the UN feels it necessary to institute some kind of regulation for the action of superheroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who feels guilty about all the damage, destruction and death that happened on his watch and due to his decisions, thinks that’s a very good idea, while Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) fears that they will cease to be an effective task force, bogged down by bureaucracy, if they have to wait for approval by somebody else. And who’s to say that that somebody will make the right decisions and work for the right things? This disagreement causes a schism in the Avengers – a schism that only gets broader when Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is accused of planting a bomb in the UN meeting where the regulation is to be discussed and Steve wants to protect him at all cost.

I like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So far, the films were always entertaining, even if varying in quality. With Avengers: Age of Ultron, [or with Guardians of the Galaxy although that isn’t that closely connected] they started to stumble, though and those smaller missteps are starting to get more notable the longer the series goes on. Civil War proves that: while it was far from awful and delivered on many counts, I felt more unsatisfied with it than with most of the earlier MCU films.

captainamericacivilwar

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Coriolanus (2011)

Coriolanus
Director: Ralph Fiennes
Writer: John Logan
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s play
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox, John Kani, James Nesbitt

Plot:
Caius Martius (Ralph Fiennes) is a celebrated general, even though he is not particularly popular with the people of Rome who are starving because the rations go to the military instead of them. Caius Martius fights his blood-enemy Aufidius (Gerard Butler) in Corioles and is victorious, which gives him enough leverage to run for consul. Even though Caius Martius isn’t completely sold on the idea, his mother (Vanessa Redgrave) pressures him and he finally caves. But not everyone is a fan of Caius Martius and he quickly finds himself in trouble.

The play and John Logan’s script are really good, as is the cast. But the movie left me pretty cold – not only did I hate the camera work, the pacing was just off.

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