Mother’s Day (2016)

Mother’s Day
Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Anya Kochoff, Matthew Walker, Tom Hines
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Timothy Olyphant, Shay MitchellJason Sudeikis, Julia RobertsHector Elizondo, Kate Hudson, Margo Martindale, Aasif Mandvi, Robert Pine, Sarah Chalke, Cameron Esposito, Jennifer Garner, Britt Robertson, Jack Whitehall, Jon Lovitz, Penny Marshall
Seen on: 16.8.2016

Plot:
Mothers come in many shapes and forms. Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is really good at being divorced from Henry (Timothy Olyphant): they get along better now than they ever did before. That is, until Henry tells her that he has a new girlfriend (Shay Mitchell) who is much younger. Meanwhile, sisters Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Gabi (Sarah Chalke) are both happy in their respective partnerships and with the distance that lies between them and their parents (Margo Martindale, Robert Pine) – who don’t know that Jesse’s partner (Aasif Mandvi) is of Indian descent and that Gabi’s partner (Cameron Esposito) is a woman. Miranda (Julia Roberts) on the other hand opted out of being a mother and rather focused on her career, while Kristin (Britt Robertson) and Zack (Jack Whitehall) just had a baby, despite being rather young and poor. And Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) has to face the first Mother’s Day with his daughters since his wife passed away.

Mother’s Day was shown in the sneak preview I attended, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered watching it. But I have to admit that it was a rather enjoyable film – even if far from flawless.

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Money Monster (2016)

Money Monster
Director: Jodie Foster
Writer: Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham, Lenny Venito
Seen on: 29.5.2016

Plot:
Lee (George Clooney) and his producer Patty (Julia Roberts) have a very successful TV show in which he discusses the developments on Wall Street. As part of his show, Lee gives recommendations on what stocks to buy and what to sell. And recently he recommended the stocks of Walt’s (Dominic West) company – that shortly thereafter went bust in a pretty spectacular fashion. Janitor Kyle (Jack O’Connell) followed Lee’s advice – and lost everything. Now Kyle has found his way into the studio and takes Lee hostage, hoping to get to the truth – and to justice.

Money Monster is a very watchable film with good performances. It’s solid, but it never really manages to go beyond that.

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The Normal Heart (2014)

The Normal Heart
Director: Ryan Murphy
Writer: Larry Kramer
Based on: Larry Kramer‘s play
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Taylor KitschJim ParsonsMatt Bomer, Julia Roberts, BD Wong, Joe Mantello, Stephen Spinella, Alfred Molina, Denis O’Hare, Corey Stoll
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 13.6.2015

Plot:
It’s the early 1980s and Ned (Mark Ruffalo) has had it with the sex-obsession of the gay community who celebrate their fight and their right to (physically) love whomever they want to love. By chance Ned finds out that a new illness is making the rounds among gay men, maybe a kind of cancer. Maybe even something that is sexually transmitted. Ned takes up the fight to raise awareness for it, though his calls for caution in the sex department fall on deaf ears. As the illness keeps spreading, confounding the few doctors who bother to look into an illness that mostly concerns gay men, Ned’s activism becomes more frantic, estranging him even from his co-fighters.

The Normal Heart was pretty much like I expected it to be: grand emotions and forceful pulling on heartstrings, excellent performances and a whole lot of message.

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August: Osage County (2013)

August: Osage County
Director: John Wells
Writer: Tracy Letts
Based on: his play
Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregorMargo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Misty Upham

Plot:
When their father (Sam Shepard) dies, Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) all gather home with their mother Violet (Meryl Streep). Everyone comes with their baggage: Barbara and her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) are separated but haven’t told their family and their daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin) doesn’t deal very well. Ivy has a secret lover. Karen brings home her newest fiancé (Dermot Mulroney). And Violet, a mean-spirited pill-addict, likes to stir things up.

August: Osage County isn’t always easy to watch but it is always well-acted and engaging. Toward the end I thought that it got a little much but altogether it was a really good film.

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Mirror Mirror (2012)

Mirror Mirror
Director: Tarsem Singh
Writer: Jason Keller, Melisa Wallack
Based on: the Snow White fairy tale
Cast: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba, Ronald Lee Clark, Sean Bean

Plot:
Princess Snow White (Lily Collins) has been living imprisoned in her own castle ever since The Queen (Julia Roberts) took over after the death of The King. The Queen has been milking the country and is running out of funds for her lifestyle. When the young Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) comes to her queendom, she thinks that she found a way out. It’s only too bad that Alcott falls in love with Snow White and that at the same time, Snow White’s political conscience awakens.

Mirror Mirror has the beautiful looks usual for a Tarsem Singh movie (the costumes… the freaking costumes!), but it also has the story-telling weaknesses and the quality generally wavers a lot. Nevertheless, fun was being had.

[Slightly SPOILERy]

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Larry Crowne (2011)

Larry Crowne is the newest film directed by Tom Hanks, written by him and Nia Vardalos, starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Pam Grier, Taraji P. Henson, Cedric the Enterainer, Bryan Cranston and George Takei.

Plot:
Larry (Tom Hanks) has been working at a supermarket every since he left the navy and he loves his job. But then he gets fired and decides to reinvent himself. He starts a college course, gets a scooter and finds new friends, especially Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who helps him re-arrange his life. And to top it all off, Larry falls in love with his teacher Mercedes (Julia Roberts) who is unhappy with her own life.

Larry Crowne is a sweet film. It’s not great, it’s not brilliant, it’s not awesome but it’s nice and fun and gives you an entertaining couple of hourse.

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Fireflies in the Garden (2008)

Fireflies in the Garden is Dennis Lee‘s first feature film, starring Ryan Reynolds, Willem Defoe, Julia Roberts, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hayden Panettiere.

Plot:
Michael (Ryan Reynolds) is on his way home to celebrate the graduation of his sister. But when he arrives at his aunt Jane’s (Emily Watson) house where everybody is supposed to meet, he finds out that his father Charles (Willem Defoe) and his mother Lisa (Julia Roberts) were just in a car accident that ended fatally for Lisa.
In the light of this loss, Michael grapples with his ex-addicted wife (Carrie -Anne Moss), the autobiographical book he is about to publish, and most of all with his abusive father.

The movie has a decent cast but was so incredibly boring, I have no idea why I actually finished it at all. And the ending sucks.

[SPOILERS]

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Eat Pray Love (2010)

Eat Pray Love is Ryan Murphy‘s adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert‘s autobiographical book, starring Julia Roberts, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, James Franco, Javier Bardem and Richard Jenkins.

Plot:
Liz (Julia Roberts) drifts from relationship to relationship, first her husband (Billy Crudup), then a new boyfriend (James Franco). But she never seems to find what she’s actually looking for until she decides that she will interrupt her normal life to go on a year long trip to Italy (because of the food), India (because of an Ashram) and to Bali (because she’s been there and an old medicine man told her that she would be back).

I didn’t expect much from Eat Pray Love, but I like travel stories and I thought that the movie would at least entertain me. It didn’t. It dragged and dragged and dragged and sprinkled above it all was so much esoteric shit that not even the eye-candy (both the landscapes and the guys) could keep me interested. In short: I am so very happy that I didn’t spend any money on this.

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Valentine’s Day (2010)

Valentine’s Day is the newest movie by Garry Marshall, starring (and it’s almost easier to list who is not in this movie) Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Ganer, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Carter Jenkins, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Bryce Robinson and Taylor Swift. *phew*

Plot:
Valentine’s Day is an episodic film about various couples on Valentine’s Day (SURPRISE!). I can either go into very much detail right now or none at all and I choose none. :)

I went into the movie seriously expecting to cringe all the time. To my surprise, Valentine’s Day was not completely aweful. Yes, it’s a RomCom as full of kitsch as they come. There are hardly any surprises and there’s nothing that hasn’t been done yet (and probably better). There are so many people, the characters suffer. But it entertains and is definitely watchable (something that can not be said about other movies in this category).

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Duplicity (2009)

Duplicity is the new movie by Tony Gilroy, starring Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson.

Plot:
Ray (Clive Owen), a MI5 agent and Claire (Julia Roberts), a CIA agent meet at a party and sleep with each other. The next morning, Claire disappears after stealing information from Ray. Years later, they meet working on the same assignement – spying on Howard Tully’s (Tom Wilkinson) company for his competitor Richard Garsik (Paul Giamatti).

Duplicity is a nice RomCom and doesn’t pretend to be much more. It’s funny and I really liked Ray and Claire’s relationship. While it won’t get movie of the year, it’s entertaining and satisfying.

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[SPOILERS]

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