Snowden (2016)

Snowden
Director: Oliver Stone
Writer: Kieran Fitzgerald, Oliver Stone
Based on: the books The Snowden Files by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Melissa Leo, Zachary QuintoShailene Woodley, Rhys Ifans, Nicolas Cage, Tom Wilkinson, Joely Richardson, Timothy Olyphant, Erol Sander, Scott Eastwood, Ben Chaplin
Seen on: 4.10.2016

Plot:
Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) used to be a soldier, then he started working for the NSA. Growing disillusioned with the NSA’s surveillance practices, he decides to do something about it. He contacts journalists Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and leaks documents and evidence through them. But whistleblowing like that is treason and Snowden has to be smart to make sure that the information reaches the public and that he doesn’t get caught.

Snowden is a very nice companion piece to Citizenfour. It’s a well done, engaging film and you can’t repeat this horrifying story and the sheer scope of everything enough.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Re-Watch: (500) Days of Summer (2009)

(500) Days of Summer
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloë Grace Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg, Patricia Belcher, Rachel Boston
Seen on: 10.12.2015
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a hopeless romantic, just waiting to meet a girl he can fall in love with. When he meets Summer (Zooey Deschanel), he believes that he has found her. But since the movie is told in flashbacks, we know that things didn’t turn out the way he had planned: Tom only got 500 days with Summer.

When I saw (500) Days of Summer the first time, I thought it was nice, but I couldn’t really understand the amount of praise the film got. But since that praise kept on coming and since the movie was part of my film course, I decided to give it another try and see if maybe I missed the magic the first time round. Turns out I’m still of pretty much the same opinion as I was six years ago.

500DaysofSummer

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

The Walk (2015)

The Walk
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne
Based on: Philippe Petit‘s memoir To Reach The Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between The Twin Towers
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le BonClément SibonyCésar Domboy, Ben Kingsley, Steve Valentine, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, Benedict Samuel
Seen on: 11.11.2015

Plot:
Philippe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a tightrope walker and he dreams of doing something daring, more daring than anybody would think possible. When he sees the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York for the first time, he is dead set on walking between them. And he knows that his time is limited – once they will have finished construction on the towers, the feat will be impossible to pull off. So Philippe gathers his co-conspirators and starts preparing.

The Walk is an entertaining film that suffers from the fact that the documentary Man on Wire covered the same ground and at least equally as entertaining. It’s not bad to watch, but the 3D doesn’t really make it better than the original documentary.

The_Walk Continue reading

Brick (2005)

Brick
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, Noah Fleiss, Matt O’Leary, Emilie de Ravin, Noah Segan, Richard Roundtree, Meagan Good
Seen on 08.03.2015

Plot:
A couple of days ago, Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) received a phone call from his ex-girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin), now he only finds her dead body. He decides to dive into the underbelly of his high school and figure out what happened to Emily. But as he starts his investigation, with the help of his class mate Brain (Matt O’Leary), Brendan quickly realizes that Emily was deeply involved with the high school drug trade, especially The Pin (Lukas Haas). And then things start to get dangerous for Brendan.

Brick is a classic noir detective story transplanted to a high school. It’s a concept that has a lot going for it and that shows a very nice, dry sense of humor. But it couldn’t quite get past my lack of love for that genre.

brick Continue reading

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Frank Miller
Based on: Frank Miller’s comics
Sequel/Prequel to: Sin City
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Josh BrolinEva Green, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher MeloniJeremy PivenChristopher Lloyd, Juno TempleStacy KeachMarton Csokas, Jamie Chung, Julia GarnerJaime King, Lady Gaga, Bruce Willis

Plot [with SPOILERS for the first film]:
Basin City is called Sin City for a reason. A town full of crooked politicians, even more crooked cops, murderers, sex workers and pretty much everyone who was thrown out everywhere else. Marv (Mickey Rourke) spends most of his time when he isn’t fighting with somebody in a strip club where Nancy (Jessica Alba) dances. Nancy is still hung up on Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) suicide to save her and tries to kill Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) who is to blame and regularly plays poker at her club. He always wins, of course, until Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) shows up. But the Senator can’t have people beating him. Dwight (Josh Brolin) is also at the strip club a lot. He is still obsessed with his ex Ava (Eva Green) who suddenly shows up in his life again and severely disrupting it in the process. Now he needs Marv’s help.

I couldn’t tell you what the difference was between the first film and the second since it looks equally great, has an equally good cast and tells equally problematic stories. But in Sin City everything works. In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For I spent very long stretches feeling very bored.

sincitydame Continue reading

Kaze tachinu [The Wind Rises] (2013)

Kaze tachinu
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Based on: his own manga which in turn is based on Tatsuo Hori‘s short story The Wind Has Risen about plane designer Jiro Horikoshi
Cast: [Japanese:] Hideaki Anno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Miori Takimoto, Mansai Nomura; [English:] Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, Mae Whitman, Werner Herzog, Jennifer Grey, William H. Macy, Darren Criss, Elijah Wood

Plot:
Jiro (Hideaki Anno) loves airplanes. He would like to fly one, but unfortunately his eyesight is too bad to become a pilot. Instead he decides to become a plane designer, after designer Giovanni Battista Caproni (Mansai Nomura) speaks to him in a dream. Years later his dream is coming true, but World War 2 is also on the horizon, which poses the question whether it is ethical to design war planes.

I was really excited for a new Miyazaki film, despite the fact that Ponyo wasn’t all that good. I was hoping that the chiefly positive reviews were right. I’m sorry to say that I was really disappointed though. Maybe he really should have quit already.

Kaze_Tachinu Continue reading

Don Jon (2013)

Don Jon
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Writer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson, and with cameos by [SPOILERS] Anne Hathaway, Channing Tatum, Meagan Good, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Plot:
Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) goes out with his friends every weekend and brings home a new girl every weekend too. But actually he’s more interested in watching porn that is better than the actual sex for him. After Saturday’s fun, Sunday’s confession is a given, too. Then Jon meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) who is pretty and knows exactly what she wants. And that includes changing Jon’s life.

Don Jon was sweet and funny. Gordon-Levitt shows a good sense of timing, but sometimes he came on a bit strong and the message and plot could have been handled with more subtlety.

donjon

Continue reading

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett
Based on: the toys
Cast: Channing Tatum, Christopher Eccleston, Sienna Miller, Marlon Wayans, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Byung-hun Lee, Rachel Nichols, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Dennis Quaid, Arnold Vosloo, Brendan Fraser

Plot:
McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) is the world’s biggest arms dealer and he has just created a new kind of bomb based on nanotechnology. Duke (Channing Tatum) and his army squad, are supposed to transport it to NATO. But en route, they are attacked by The Baronness (Sienna Miller) who happens to be Duke’s ex. Duke does his best, but ultimately he and the bomb are saved by the Joes, a super secret elite army team. And Duke decides that he wants in with them.

I never watched G.I. Joe because all I heard about it was how freaking bad it was – in fact, so bad that it crosses so bad it’s good territory and is just plain boring. Turns out that that is completely untrue. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a good film. But it is a hell of an entertaining one.

gijoetheriseofcobra

Continue reading

Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Tony Kushner
Based on: Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Haley, Bruce McGill, Tim Blake Nelson, Joseph Cross, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Costabile, Walton Goggins, David Oyelowo, Lukas Haas, Dane DeHaan

Plot:
In the middle of the US American civil war, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) got reelected for his second term of presidency. And he uses that position to make another push to finally do away with slavery in the US for good by adding an amendment to the constitution. But he faces a lot of opposition, not only from the Democrats, but also from within his own Republican party. As the war draws closer to its end, Lincoln and his staff have to work really hard to pass the amendment in time.

Oh boy, Lincoln is one hell of a boring movie. It’s really long, and it feels even longer. The cast is generally fantastic, but the script is unfocused and Steven Spielberg is really off his game in this one.

Lincoln

Continue reading

Looper (2012)

Looper
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Noah Segan, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, Piper Perabo, Pierce Gagnon, Qing Xu

Plot:
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper – gangsters from the future send the people they wish to kill back in time, where the loopers dispose of them. The last person they will dispose of that way will be their older selves, and thereby fulfilling their contract. As it happens, most loopers’ contracts are starting to get closed. But when it’s Joe’s turn, Old!Joe (Bruce Willis) won’t play along and makes a break for it.

Apart from one inconsistency, Looper is an expertly crafted and engaging time travel story. While it is not the greatest film ever made, I did enjoy it a whole lot.

[SPOILER]

Continue reading