Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Hail, Caesar!
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Veronica Osorio, Heather Goldenhersh, Alison Pill, Max Baker, Clancy Brown, David Krumholtz, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lambert, Fred Melamed, Jack Huston, Michael Gambon
Seen on: 21.2.2016

Plot:
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) fixes problems for a big movie studio. And boy, are there ever problems: Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), the biggest star they currently have, is missing, possibly abducted. Star DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is pregnant und unmarried. Director Laurnce Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) needs a new star for his film and the only guy available is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), talented stunt cowboy but acting is a whole other story. And the twin journalists Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton and Tilda Swinton) are snooping around for a story, each in her own way and for her own column. And if all of that wasn’t enough, Eddie has an attractive job offer on the table he needs to decide on soon.

After the recent rather serious outings of the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar! is a return to comedy, and a very successful one at that. The film is a romp through the studio cinema of the 50s, with the only drawback that they’re reproducing the white-maleness of those films as well. Other than that, though, it is simply fun.

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

How to Train Your Dragon 2
Director: Dean DeBlois
Writer: Dean DeBlois
Based on: Cressida Cowell‘s books
Sequel to: How to Train Your Dragon
Cast: Jay BaruchelCate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

Plot:
After the events of How to Train Your Dragon, a lot has changed in Hiccup’s (Jay Baruchel) village. His father Stoick (Gerard Butler) is even talking about grooming Hiccup for leadership. Bue he would rather map the world flying around with Toothless and looking for other Night Furies. But instead of that, what Hiccup finds are other dragon riders and dragon hunters who kidnap the dragons for an entirely sinister purpose.

There is a lot to love about How to Train Your Dragon 2, but there are also a couple of things that I didn’t love at all. But the enjoyment did outweigh the issues.

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Re-Watch: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

How to Train Your Dragon
Director: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
Writer: William Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
Based on: Cressida Cowell‘s books
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
A Viking village. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is the son of the Chief Stoick (Gerard Butler) and dreams about slaying dragons like all the rest. Unfortunately for all the rest, Hiccup has a knack for building machinery and is incredibly clumsy. One day, Hiccup manages to actually down a dragon – and one of the infamous Night Furies. But nobody believes him, so he sets out to find and kill it. But when he does find it, he is not able to hurt the creature. Instead the two of them slowly strike up a friendship.

I knew that I liked How to Train Your Dragon when I first saw it but I had forgotten how positively wonderful it was. Even on second watch, it made me cry. And laugh, of course. And seriously crave a Toothless of my own.

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The Lego Movie (2014)

The Lego Movie
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writer: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Cast: Chris PrattElizabeth BanksMorgan FreemanLiam Neeson, Will ArnettNick Offerman, Alison BrieCobie Smulders, Jonah HillChanning Tatum, Will FerrellWill Forte, Charlie Day, Dave Franco, Jake Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal

Plot:
Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary lego worker, spending his days joyfully building things, though he is also a bit lonely. Everything changes though, when he sees Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), gets identified as the most extraordinary person and involved in the rebellion against Lord Business (Will Ferrell) whose main goal is to have everything in its place, chaos and with it diversity be damned.

The Lego Movie was a whole lot of fun, stitched together from references and meta jokes that nevertheless manage to form a coherent role with a rather surprising end, even if it sometimes runs a bit empty.
lego

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This Is the End (2013)

This Is the End
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Writer: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Based on: the short film “Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, David Krumholtz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rihanna, Martin Starr, Paul Rudd, Channing Tatum, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Jason Segel, Brandon Trost, Jason Trost

Plot:
Jay Baruchel comes to LA to visit Seth Rogen. He had planned to have a weekend full of movies, video games and weed at Seth’s place, but Seth gets him to go to James Franco’s housewarming party. While they’re there, the apocalypse happens – literally. None of them ascends into heaven, but at least Jay, Seth, James, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride also don’t fall into the hell pit that opened just outside the door. But what should they do now?

I was afraid that I wouldn’t like This Is the End and I was right. Apart from a few moments of actual fun, there was nothing that I could enjoy about it.

thisistheend

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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Terence Winter
Based on: Jordan Belfort‘s book
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) dreams of making a whole lot of money on Wall Street. At first this seems rather impossible, especially since the stock markets crash right when Jordan gets his broker’s license. But then Jordan finds a way to make it big, even if it’s not entirely legal. He enjoys the money way too much to care about that. Even when the FBI gets involved, he can’t stop.

The Wolf of Wall Street was one of the most uncomfortable movie experiences I had in recent times. It was not only the content, but also the length and the audience that had me cringing.

wolfofwallstreet

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Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Walton Goggins, James Remar, Amber Tamblyn, Bruce Dern, Zoe Bell, Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, Franco Nero, Quentin Tarantino

Plot:
Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a bounty hunter who’s looking for a trio of brothers that he can’t identify. But he knows that the recently sold slave Django (Jamie Foxx) can. So he goes after Django and frees him in return for his help with the bounty hunting. Django agrees and the two of them start working very well together. But Django really wants to get his wife (Kerry Washington) back who has been sold separately. So he and Schultz hatch a plan how to get her out of the clutches of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Django Unchained was pretty damn great. It wasn’t perfect, but it was fun, had a great cast, beautiful cinematography and, as usual for Tarantino movies, an amazing soundtrack.

DjangoUnchained

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Megamind (2010)

Megamind is Tom McGrath‘s newest animated film, starring the voices of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller and J. K. Simmons.

Plot:
Megamind (Will Ferrell) gets sent away by his parents because his world is swallowed by a black hole*. At the same time but from another planet close-by, Metro Man (Brad Pitt) is sent on his way, too. They arrive on our earth and while Metro Man lands in a mansion, Megamind is dropped in a prison. So it’s no wonder that Megamind grows up to be a supervillain. But when he actually succeeds and kills Metro Man, he has to show what he’s really made of.

Megamind was mostly meh. It has some nice moments, it’s not badly done, but it left me cold. I even fell asleep for a few minutes in the middle**.

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The Invention of Lying (2009)

The Invention of Lying is a movie by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson, starring Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Louis C.K., Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, Jeffrey Tambor, Tina Fey, John Hodgman, Jimmi Simpson, Martin Starr, Jason Bateman, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Guest, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton. [Seriously, this movie is like Where’s Waldo?, only with known faces.]

Plot:
In a world, where no human knows how to lie, things can be pretty cruel for a guy like Mark (Ricky Gervais): Not particularly attractive, successful or intelligent – and the world keeps telling him directly. After going out with the beautiful Anna (Jennifer Garner) who shoots him down the next day, being fired and about to be evicted, Mark is ready to just quit. That’s when he tells the world’s first lie. Unsure how he is able to do it or what exactly to do with that new ability, he jus tknows that his life is about to change.

I haven’t heard any good things about this movie beforehand [and it was again one of those films that even get a cinematic release in Austria]. But this movie was actually pretty good – good concept, good jokes and a fantastic cast.

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Cyrus (2010)

[Viennale.]

Cyrus is the newest movie by Mark and Jay Duplass, starring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill and Catherine Keener.

Plot:
John (John C. Reilly) is in a depressed hole and has been there for quite a while. Maybe even since he split up with Jamie (Catherine Keener), who remains his friend. One night at a party, he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei). They hit it off right away and John falls in love. But Molly has a grown son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill) and neither Molly nor Cyrus seem to be able to let go of each other.

There were quite a few things I appreciated about this film – foremost the acting, but also the way the characters talked to each other – but in the end, it remains yet another story about two guys fighting for the girl where the girl gets no say in the matter. That the two guys are not two lovers but the lover and the son makes hardly any difference. And there are way too many films about this already.

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