The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Director: Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston
Writer: Ashleigh Powell
Based on: E.T.A. Hoffmann‘s novella The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, as well as the ballet based on this story by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Tom Sweet, Meera Syal, Ellie Bamber, Matthew Macfadyen, Morgan Freeman, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Helen Mirren, Jack Whitehall, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Keira Knightley, Misty Copeland, Max Westwell, Aaron Smyth, Sergei Polunin
Seen on: 26.11.2018
1-gif-review

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.

The film poster showing the main characters in very colorful outfits.
Continue reading

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writer: Steven Knight
Based on: Richard C. Moraisnovel
Cast: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon, Amit Shah, Farzana Dua Elahe, Dillon Mitra, Aria Pandya

Plot:
The Kadam family left India after a horrible fire to try and find new luck in Europe. The UK wasn’t so much their thing, so they head for France where they become stranded in a small village where they plan to open a restaurant, especially because son Hassan (Manish Dayal) has a gift for food. But the place they find is right across the street from the Michelin-starred restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). Mallory is taken aback by her new neighbors but Hassan dreams of learning French cuisine.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is not an earth-shattering film but it is sweet and entertaining and despite being a film about cultural differences, it doesn’t hinge on stereotypes (the usual pitfall of movies of its type). I enjoyed it.

The-Hundred-Foot-Journey

Continue reading

Safe Haven (2013)

Safe Haven
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writer: Leslie Bohem, Dana Stevens
Based on: Nicholas Sparks‘ novel
Cast: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders, David Lyons, Mimi Kirkland, Noah Lomax

Plot:
Katie (Julianne Hough) is on the run. While Det. Tierney (David Lyons) is searching for her, she manages to escape and ends up in a small town in the middle of nowhere. She decides to settle down there for a bit, however uneasy. Soon she starts a friendship with her neighbor Jo (Cobie Smulders) and with the town’s grocery store owner Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widower with two kids. But Katie isn’t safe yet.

You know, there are the kind of Nicholas Sparks movies where you might feel a bit ashamed to admit it, but they do touch you in all their unabashed cheesiness (case in point: The Notebook. How I bawled!). And then there are the films like this one where it’s all just too much and you can’t take it seriously anymore at all.

SafeHaven

Continue reading

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Based on: Paul Torday‘s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Mison, Rachael Stirling

Plot:
Harriet (Emily Blunt) works for Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) – a very rich Sheikh from the Yemen who would loves to flyfish and would love to establish salmon fishing in the Yemen. So Harriet gets in touch with fish expert Alfred (Ewan McGregor) to see if it can be done. Initially dismissive, if not to say hostile, Alfred declines a collaboration but is pressured by press secretary Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas) and finally gives in. But as the project slowly actually comes together, both Harriet’s and Alfred’s private lives are falling apart. But maybe a crazy salmon fishing project is just the thing they needed.

The movie has a whole lot of romcom potential and it does fulfill it for the most part. But in other parts, it just doesn’t work at all.

Continue reading