Plot: Clara’s (Mackenzie Foy) mother passed away not too long ago, but her father (Matthew Macfadyen) has one last Christmas present from the her for Clara and her siblings. While her siblings’ presents are rather self-explanatory, Clara gets a golden egg that’s supposed to open, but doesn’t. Her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) is the one who made it, so Clara hopes that at his annual Christmas party, she might find more answers. Indeed, he leads her to the key, but before she can reach it, Clara finds herself transported into a completely different world – a world her mother apparently knew intimately. Clara meets the soldier Philipp (Jayden Fowora-Knight), as well as the regents of three of the four realms of that world. Quickly she is deeply involved in the politics of the four realms.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is nice, but doesn’t really come together. Nevertheless, it is entertaining and cute in an entirely unimpactful way.
Megan (Keira Knightley) and her boyfriend Andrew (Mark Webber) have been together since high school. In fact, nothing much has changed for Megan since high school even though she’s approaching 30. Then Andrew proposes and Megan is shocked by something so adult encroaching in her life. Chance lets her meet teenaged Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) who is intrigued by the older woman who behaves so little like an adult. Megan, too, is drawn by Annika’s teenager life and it doesn’t take long for her to move in with her and Annika’s dad Craig (Sam Rockwell) while she mulls over Andrew’s proposal.
Laggies may not be my favorite of Shelton’s film but it is sensitive, fun and sweet – just the right fare for a cozy Sunday.
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is approached by a young man, Henry (Brenton Thwaites), who needs to find the Trident of Poseidon to break his father’s curse, his father none other than Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). As luck will have it, Jack also desperately needs the Trident as very recently, vengeful ghost Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) managed to free himself from the Devil’s Triangle and is now hellbent on ridding the seas of all pirates, particularly Jack. And even more luckily, Henry runs into Carina (Kaya Scodelario) who happens to have all the necessary clues to find the Trident – if she can only get out of being tried and executed as a witch.
My excitement to watch yet another installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series was rather low (especially with Johnny Depp the abuser at the forefront of the film), but since it became a group outing and there is a certain amount of nostalgia attached to these films, I ended up seeing it anyway. I shouldn’t have bothered.
Plot: Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) thought he found his niche when he established guided tours up Mount Everest for more or less amateur climbers, but since he started, many others have followed his lead and now base camp is full with groups – one of them led by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal). Rob, too, brings yet another group to climb the top, among them journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), postman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), enthusiastic climber Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) and Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori) who wants to complete her collection of over 8000m peaks she’s climbed. But the group encounters more than one problem.
I’m not a mountain person. I don’t even understand skiing as a pastime, something people do voluntarily (and I’m fucking Austrian). So the concept of climbing Mount Everest is utterly alien to me. I understand it even less after having seen this film.
Plot: Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is brilliant, but he is also very weird. When he shows up at Bletchley Circle, ready to crack the German code machine Enigma, he has trouble fitting into the team working there, led by Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode). Hugh thinks they need to keep cracking the codes manually, while Alan is convinced that only a machine can crack Enigma. Things shift after Alan complains to Winston Churchill directly who puts him in charge, much to the team’s dismay. It is only after Alan hires Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) and the machine starts to take on shape that the team comes around as well.
The Imitation Game is a mess, there is no other way to put it. I pretty much hated everything about it except the supporting cast, and even so most of them were underused.
Dan (Mark Ruffalo) is a producer. Or rather, he used to be – these days he’s mostly drinking and despairing at the state of the music industry, while his estranged wife Miriam (Catherine Keener) and equally estranged daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld) grow ever more frustrated about it. After he loses his job, despite having funded the company he worked for together with his friend Saul (Mos Def), he hits a new low. That’s when he hears Gretta (Keira Knightley) sing and falls in love with her music. But Gretta sees herself as a songwriter only and is not interested in a career as a singer, especially since she just had a bad break-up with her newly made superstar of a boyfriend (Adam Levine). But Dan convinces her that they should record an album together.
Begin Again [German title absurdly enough “Can a Song Save Your Life?”] might not be quite as magical as Once was, but it is a sweet film with a very nice soundtrack that I enjoyed a lot.
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.
Mitchel (Colin Farrell) was just released from prison (where he spent time for grievous bodily harm) and now tries to leave his old circle. But his friend Billy (Ben Chaplin) who set him up with a place to stay, would rather see him with himself in the money-lending business. But Mitchel declines and finds himself a job as a handyman/bodyguard for the reclusive actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley) and her business manager Jordan (David Thewlis). Unfortunately, Billy’s boss Gant (Ray Winstone) isn’t really willing to let Mitchel go.
London Boulevard should be entertaining. It has an impressive cast and I do enjoy these gangster stories. Unfortunately, the whole thing is much too muddled to really achieve its potential.
Plot: Carl Gustav Jung (Michael Fassbender) is a young psychologist much in awe of Sigmund Freud‘s (Viggo Mortensen) work. When Jung gets a new patient, the young Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), he starts a psychoanalysis with her and he also begins to correspond with Freud about the case. But Jung soon discovers his attraction to Spielrein (and vice versa) and when Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel) encourages him to give in, he can’t really resist.
A Dangerous Method is an almost perfect movie, interesting, not afraid of depth, but never gets too overbearing. Additionally, it has a good cast and it’s entertaining. Chapeau once again, Mr. Cronenberg.
Kath (Carey Mulligan) watches Tommy (Andrew Garfield) go in for his probably final donation and uses this time to reflect upon her life: How she grew up at Hailsham together with Tommy and Ruth (Keira Knightley), slowly discovering and coming to terms with the path chosen for her by her mere existence: she like all the other children at Hailsham is a clone, built for donating her organs and ultimately her life.
Never Let Me Go is an excellent adaptation, though it doesn’t manage to be quite as good as the book. Which probably wouldn’t have been possible anyway. But with a brilliant cast, wonderful soundtrack and very nice cinematography it has everything you need.