Maggie’s Plan (2015)

Maggie’s Plan
Director: Rebecca Miller
Writer: Rebecca Miller, Karen Rinaldi
Cast: Greta GerwigEthan HawkeJulianne Moore, Travis Fimmel, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn, Fredi Walker-Browne
Seen on: 12.8.2016

Plot:
Maggie (Greta Gerwig) wants a child and she doesn’t want to wait until she meets the right man for her, she wants it now. So she asks old acquaintance Guy (Travis Fimmel) if he would be willing to give her his sperm and he agrees. But right around this time, she meets John (Ethan Hawke) and falls for him – and he for her. John leaves his wife Georgette (Julianne Moore) and the two move in together. A few years later, Maggie has a lovely daughter, but her love for John has cooled substantially. So she hatches the plan that maybe she could get him back together with Georgette.

Maggie’s Plan is an absolutely adorable, wonderful, funny and sweet film. It proves that a light film doesn’t necessarily have to be stupid.

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Freeheld (2015)

Freeheld
Director: Peter Sollett
Writer: Ron Nyswaner
Based on: Laurel Hester‘s life and the documentary about that
Cast: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Steve Carell, Luke Grimes, Josh Charles
Seen on: 14.4.2016

Plot:
Laurel (Julianne Moore) falls in love with Stacie (Ellen Page) and vice versa. The two build their life together, a life that Laurel carefully shields from her job as a cop and even her partner Dane (Michael Shannon). But then she is diagnosed with cancer and things are not looking good. As Laurel realizes that she’ll probably not survive, she knows that she has to fight to have Stacie and her (civil) partnership with her recogniced by the city council to make sure that Stacie will get the spousal pension after Laurel’s death. But the council is not willing to make that happen.

Freeheld is a conservatively made film about a progressive topic: while the filmmaking here is not revolutionary, the fight for queer rights is and as we keep seeing over and over again, it’s unfortunately far from won. So keep the films on coming and if they push every emotional button in the most obvious way, it’s even better: people obviously still need the basic lessons.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Peter Craig, Danny Strong
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel (the second half)
Sequel to: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour HoffmanJulianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson, Mahershala Ali, Jeffrey Wright, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie
Seen on: 22.11.2015

Plot [with Spoilers for everything up until this part]:
Still reeling from brainwashed Peeta’s (Josh Hutcherson) attack on her, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has no chance of really gathering herself. Instead she shoots promo videos for the rebellion and their cause. As outright war with the Capitol becomes ever more likely, Katniss decides that she has to put an end to things and the only way it will end is if Katniss kills President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

My expectations were pretty low for this final installation in the series since the second half of the last book was the weakest part of the series by far and that was the only thing that was left to bring to the screen. But Mockingjay Part 2 turned out to be better than I expected.

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Still Alice (2014)

Still Alice
Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Writer: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Based on: Lisa Genova‘s novel
Cast: Julianne MooreAlec BaldwinKristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae, Hunter Parrish, Seth Gilliam
Seen on: 13.3.2015

Plot:
Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) is a very successful professor for linguistics. She’s happily married to John (Alec Baldwin) and has three children (Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parish, Kristen Stewart) with whom she gets mostly along. But Alice has noticed that she keeps losing words and has trouble remembering things. Shortly thereafter she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and has to face the fact that she will not only lose her memories, but also herself and her entire life in a very short while.

Still Alice was a touching and smart film with really wonderful performances. I cried a lot which is probably what the film is made for.

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Seventh Son (2014)

Seventh Son
Director: Sergey Bodrov
Writer: Charles Leavitt, Steven Knight
Based on: Joseph Delaney‘s novel The Spook’s Apprentice
Cast: Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Antje Traue, Olivia Williams, John DeSantis, Kit Harington, Djimon Hounsou, Kandyse McClure, Luc Roderique, Zahf Paroo
Seen on: 10.03.2015

Plot:
Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is a spook, a warrior and warden against the supernatural. But he’s the last of his kind, especially since his latest apprentice (Kit Harington) just met his unfortunate demise at the hands of the evil witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore). Malkin had been imprisoned for a very long while, but she managed to free herself and plans on taking revenge and get her power back. So Gregory hires himself a new apprentice, Tom (Ben Barnes), and together they will do anything in their power to stop Malkin.

Seventh Son was okay. Not quite as craptastic as I expected, but not good either. It was entertaining enough, but I kept wishing that I was in the film that Julianne Moore was obviously in, but the rest of the cast not so much.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Peter Craig, Danny Strong
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel (the first half at least)
Sequel to: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour HoffmanJulianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson, Mahershala Ali, Jeffrey Wright, Natalie Dormer

Plot: [WITH SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOKS]
After the dramatic ending of the last Hunger Games, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) wakes up in the rebels’ headquarters in District 13. She discovers that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) did not make it there – he was captured by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol. But with Katniss are Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and her family (Willow Shields, Paula Malcomson) – who made it out of District 12 right before it was completely obliterated – and a few other Hunger Game victors. While Katniss tries to make sense of the new world order around her, the rebels try to convince her that she should become the Mockingjay: the official symbol of the rebellion.

Mockingjay Part 1 was a very satisfying film, but it did leave me worried for Part 2, since there is not much left of the story that still worked for me in the book. But we’re not there yet, and this film, despite the occasional lengths, does very well.

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Maps to the Stars (2014)

Maps to the Stars
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Bruce Wagner
Cast: Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska, Evan Bird, Sarah Gadon, Olivia Williams, Carrie Fisher

Plot:
Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) just arrived in Hollywood and is chauffeured around by Jerome (Robert Pattinson). But it quickly becomes clear that it isn’t her first time in the city, even if she hasn’t been in a while. She gets a job as an assistant to ageing actress Havana (Julianne Moore) who is obsessed with her mother (Sarah Gadon), also an actress who died at a very young age. For that she is in therapy with Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) whose unconventional methods are also selling pretty well as books. Stafford’s son Benjie (Evan Bird) is a child actor himself and has just been released from rehab, despite being only 13 years old. Now he and his mother Cristina (Olivia Williams) try everything to get his career back on track. But things in Hollywood are treacherous indeed.

Maps to the Stars was an interesting look at Hollywood with a stellar cast. It does make me wonder how much of it is actually realistic (since it is touted as such an honest look at Hollywood) but pushing that aside, it is definitely a smart, engaging film.

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Non-Stop (2014)

Non-Stop
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, Ryan Engle
Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong’o, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is an air marshal with a host of problems, not the least of which is that he drinks too much. But all of those things take a back seat, when Bill starts receiving text messages mid-air threatening the plane and to kill its passengers if they don’t receive a whole lot of money. And despite Bill’s vigilance and the fact that the plane is flying, people start dying.

Non-Stop suffers from many things but mostly from a plot that doesn’t make a lick of sense and some serious lengths in the second half. At least there is the wonderful female cast.

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Carrie (2013)

Carrie
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Writer: Lawrence D. Cohen, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Based on: Stephen King‘s novel
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Ansel Elgort, Alex Russell, Judy Greer

Plot:
Growing up with her ultra-religious, mentally ill mother (Julianne Moore), Carrie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is an outcast at her school who lacks vital information. Like what a period is. So when she gets it, she’s understandably distressed, a fact her classmates use to bring the bullying to the next level. But what they don’t know is that Carrie also has strange powers that she’s slowly getting the hang of.

Carrie has a strong, tense first half, but especially the showdown really doesn’t work anymore.

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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.

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