Spy (2015)

Spy
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Miranda Hart, Rose ByrneAllison Janney, Morena Baccarin, Jason Statham, Bobby Cannavale, Will Yun LeeNargis Fakhri, Peter Serafinowicz, 50 Cent
Seen on: 8.6.2015

Plot:
Bradley Fine (Jude Law) is a superspy as you imagine him: good-looking, suave and mostly investigating within the upper class. But he wouldn’t be half the spy he was without Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), his handler: Susan might not be in the field herself, but with the help of visual and audio equipment, she sees the world through Bradley’s eyes – with multiple enhancements. And she is the best at what she does. But when Bradley ignores her advice, is killed by Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne). And Rayna goes on to blow the cover of every active field agent. While uncovered spy Rick Ford (Jason Statham) goes rogue, Susan herself steps up – and out into the field.

Spy does many things right, but it does enough that didn’t work for me to keep me only very mildly enthusiastic about it – despite the good stuff.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson
Based on: Stefan Zweig‘s writing (very loosely)
Cast: Ralph FiennesTony Revolori, F. Murray AbrahamJude Law, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Karl Markovics, Bob Balaban

Plot:
Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is not just a concierge, he is probably the best concierge there ever was and he has his fans. One of them is his newly acquired protégé Zero (Tony Revolori), another a frequent guest at the Grand Budapest Hotel, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). When she is f0und dead, though, suspicion falls on Gustave and he has to try and clear his name and to claim his inheritance, all with Zero in tow.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is probably the best film Anderson made since The Life Aquatic, if not his best film so far, period. It is crazy, enjoyable, funny, aesthetic and weird and has an awe-inspiring cast. Wonderful.

grandbudapesthotel

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Side Effects (2013)

Side Effects
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-JonesVinessa Shaw, David Costabile, Mamie Gummer

Plot:
Emily’s (Rooney Mara) husband Martin (Channing Tatum) was in prison for the last four years, for fraud. Now he’s finally out and Emily should be super-happy as her life is slowly falling into place again. But unfortunately she’s not. Instead she’s depressed and really not doing well. After she drives her car into a wall, she starts treatment with Dr. Banks (Jude Law) who prescribes her various medications. But every medication has its side effects.

I really enjoyed the first half of this film. Unfortunately it then gets lost in a clusterfuck of tropes and plot twists and starts to suck really badly.

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[SPOILERS]

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Anna Karenina (2012)

Anna Karenina
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Tom Stoppard
Based on: Leo Tolstoy‘s novel (which I wrote about very shortly here)
Cast: Keira Knightley, Aaron Johnson, Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Ruth Wilson, Olivia Williams, Holliday Grainger, Emily Watson, Michelle Dockery, Steve Evets, Bill Skarsgard

Plot:
Anna (Keira Knightley) has been married to Alexei Karenin (Jude Law) for quite a while. It’s a marriage of convenience, but one that works quite well. Anna gives all her love to their son and seems content. That is, until she travels to Moscow to reconcile her brother Stiva (Matthew Macfadyen) with his wife Dolly (Kelly Macdonald) on whom he cheated. In Moscow, Anna meets Alexei Vronsky (Aaron Johnson), a young count who had been courting Dolly’s sister Kitty (Alicia Vikander), more or less seriously. Anna and Vronsky feel drawn to each other immediately – so much so that Anna basically flees back to St. Petersburg. But Vronsky follows her there, kicking off events that slowly spiral Anna’s life completely out of control.

The movie started and I immediately and irrevocably fell in love with it. And it didn’t disappoint me for one moment. It is a thing of beauty that I could watch over and over again.

Anna-Karenina

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Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Rise of the Guardians
Director: Peter Ramsey
Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire
Based on: William Joyce‘s books
Cast: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Dakota Goyo

Plot:
The Guardians – that is Santa (Alex Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Sandman – protect the children of the earth. But when a new threat shows up in Pitch (Jude Law) aka the Boogey Man, the Man in the Moon appoints a new guardian – Jack Frost (Chris Pine). Everybody is bewildered by that choice, most of all Jack himself, who is more preoccupied with finding out who he actually was before he became Jack Frost. But for the sake of the children, they start working together.

Rise of the Guardians was amazing. Beautifully animated, wonderful story and it all comes together in a way to make you cry and laugh and to leave you with a magical feeling and a smile on your face.

rise_of_the_guardians

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360 (2011)

360
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Writer: Peter Morgan
Based on: Arthur Schnitzler‘s Reigen (loosely)
Cast: Lucia Siposová, Gabriela Marcinkova, Johannes Krisch, Jude Law, Moritz Bleibtreu, Jamel Debbouze, Dinara Drukarova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Rachel Weisz, Juliano Cazarré, Maria Flor, Ben Foster, Anthony Hopkins

Plot:
Starting with a whore Mirka (Lucia Siposová) and her pimp Rocco (Johannes Krisch) in Vienna, 360 moves through various stories that are all somehow connected. From Paris to London and Denver it takes a look at the various kinds of relationships, infidelities and betrayals.

360 is a bit uneven. It has a good cast and some of the stories work perfectly, while others are bland or don’t fit. In short, it just doesn’t really come together.

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Hugo (2011)

Hugo
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: John Logan
Based on: Brian Selznick‘s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, Jude Law

Plot:
After the death of his father (Jude Law), Hugo (Asa Butterfield) started to live in Paris’ Central Station, winding the clocks and trying to rebuild an automaton he and his father were working on. When he tries to steal some cogs from Papa George (Ben Kingsley), he gets caught and George takes the notebook in which Hugo’s father detailed the plans for the automaton. So Hugo enlists Papa George’s ward Isabelle (Chloe Moretz) to get it back. But what is George’s connection to the automaton in the first place?

Hugo is a beautiful, engaging and very entertaining. Plus, it’s basically a love letter to George Méliès – and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. I really enjoyed every minute of it.

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Based on: Arthur Conan Doyle‘s characters
Sequel to: Sherlock Holmes
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry, Kelly Reilly, Geraldine James, Rachel McAdams, Eddie Marsan

Plot:
A series of bombings has hit all over Europe, unsettling the political atmosphere so much that war is in the air. Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) suspects Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) of instigating the events. Unfortunately at the same time, Sherlock’s best friend and partner Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is finally getting married to Mary (Kelly Reilly) – and thus about to end their partnership. But Moriarty won’t leave Watson alone, so Holmes has to involve him in this case anyway.

The movie does do some things better than the first one, but overall it dragged a bit and wasn’t quite as satisfying. Nevertheless, I had fun.

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Contagion (2011)

Contagion
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Ehle, Elliott Gould, Bryan Cranston, Josie Ho

Plot:
Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) travels home from a business trip in Hong Kong. But almost as soon as she reaches her husband (Matt Damon) and son, the cold she brought from Hong Kong turns out to be much worse and is, in fact, the beginning of a worldwide epidemic. While people around them start dying the CDC sends an agent (Kate Winslet) to Boston, while the WHO sends one of their people (Marion Cotillard) to Hong Kong in a desperate attempt to find a cure – and quickly.

In Contagion, Soderbergh dodges most of the classic movie conventions on how to tell his story. Instead he makes a film that feels so utterly realistic that you can almost believe it to be a documentary. That is not only impressive per se, it also makes for an excellent film.

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Re-Watch: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

The Talented Mr. Ripley is Anthony Minghella‘s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith‘s book (which I’ve reviewed here), starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jack Davenport.

Plot:
Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is sent to Italy to bring Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) back home. But Dickie doesn’t want to leave , seeing as he lives perfectly in Italy: off his parents’ money, with a beautiful girlfriend, Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) and a lot of time on his hands. Tom soon becomes obsessed with Dickie and when he feels Dickie’s affection turning, he has to do something desperate.

It’s been a while that I had seen this movie but I remember liking it at the time. I still do, but having read the book so shortly before watching, I have to say that the film just pales in comparison to it. Especially the changes in Ripley’s character are jarring in that respect.

[SPOILERS]

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