Rebecca (2020)

Rebecca
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
Based on: Daphne du Maurier’s novel
Cast: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ann Dowd, Tom Goodman-Hill, John Hollingworth, Keeley Hawes, Sam Riley, Bill Paterson
Seen on: 20.2.2021

Plot:
Working as a companion to Mrs van Hopper (Ann Dowd) has brought the unnamed protagonist (Lily James) to Monte Carlo where Mrs van Hopper spies Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), whose somewhat tragic story precedes him: he is a widower and lives at the grand estate of Manderley, now all alone. When Mrs van Hopper falls ill, the protagonist and Maxim de Winter start to spend more time with each other and finally he asks her to marry him. But living in Manderley, where the shadow of Maxim’s deceased wife Rebecca hangs over everything and her housekeeper Mrs Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) makes sure it doesn’t leave, proves quite a challenge for them.

Rebecca is an okay adaptation of a really excellent novel. That squandered potential leaves a film that is decidedly meh, but very pretty.

The film poster showing Maxim (Armie Hammer) looking into the distance as he holds the protagonist's (Lily James) face. She is looking up at him.
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Yesterday (2019)

Yesterday
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Richard Curtis, Jack Barth
Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino, Ellise Chappell, Meera Syal, Harry Michell, Vincent Franklin, Joel Fry, Kate McKinnon, Michael Kiwanuka, Ed Sheeran, James Corden
Seen on: 24.7.2019
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Plot:
Jack (Himesh Patel) is a musician, albeit not a very successful one. His biggest supporter is his best friend and manager Ellie (Lily James), but she, too, can’t make fame just appear. One night, when Jack is about ready to give it all up, he is hit by a bus. When he regains consciousness, things seem unchanged at first – until Jack realizes that he is the only one who remembers The Beatles. It seems, they never existed. But Jack still remembers their songs – and pretending they are his is his ticket to the career he always wanted.

Yesterday is sweet enough as a film, albeit nothing much to write home about. Still, with a charmer like Patel in the lead and bolstered by The Beatles’ music, it is definitely entertaining.

The film poster showing Jack (Himesh Patel), a guitar strapped to his back, walking across a crosswalk like the famous Abbey Road Beatles album cover.
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All About Eve

All About Eve
Director: Ivo van Hove, Nick Wickham
Writer: Ivo van Hove
Based on: Mary Orr‘s short story The Wisdom of Eve
Cast: Lily James, Gillian Anderson, Jessie Mei Li, Monica Dolan, Julian Ovenden, Sheila Reid, Stanley Townsend, Rhashan Stone, Tsion Habte, Ian Drysdale
Seen on: 11.4.2019

Plot:
Margo Channing (Gillian Anderson) is the Broadway star, though she is worried that she is ageing out of her career. One night after her performance, a friend of hers brings along Eve (Lily James), Margo’s biggest fan and herself an aspiring actress. After Eve reveals her difficult life so far, Margo decides to help her, taking her under her wing. But there might be more to Eve than appears at first.

All About Eve delivers an excellent night of theater with perfect performances. Watching Gillian Anderson is always a pleasure, but it is a distinct pleasure in this play.

The poster for the play showing Eve (Lily James) peeking out from a curtain with Margo's (Gillian Anderson) face on it.
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Director: Mike Newell
Writer: Don Roos, Kevin Hood, Thomas Bezucha
Based on: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ novel
Cast: Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay, Katherine Parkinson, Matthew Goode, Glen Powell, Penelope Wilton
Seen on: 7.12.2018
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Plot:
Shortly after WW2. Juliet Ashton (Lily James) is a successful columnist who recently published a book with collected essays and is now struggling to find a topic for a new book. That’s when she receives a letter from Guernsey from Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman). Juliet becomes interested in the history of Guernsey during the war, and in particular the history of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Dawsey writes about, and decides that she wants to go there to find the stuff for her new book.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was nice, but I didn’t like it as much as I liked the book, despite many good things. Still, it’s a good watch and will probably motivate you to join/create a book club of your own.

The film poster showing Juliet Ashton (Lily James) arriving on Guernsey.

[Slight SPOILERS]

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Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Sorry to Bother You
Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Cast: LaKeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Kate Berlant, Michael X. Sommers, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, Robert Longstreet, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Lily James, Forest Whitaker, Rosario Dawson, W. Kamau Bell
Seen on: 4.8.2019

Plot:
Cassius (LaKeith Stanfield) lives with his girlfriend, the artist Detroit (Tessa Thompson), in his uncle Sergio’s (Terry Crews) garage. Money is tight and that doesn’t really change when Cassius starts a new job as a telemarketer. But success is just around the corner when Cassius discovers his white voice and uses it in his sales. At the same time though his co-worker Squeeze (Steve Yeun) is starting to raise concerns about the products they are selling.

Sorry to Bother You is a wild film, in the best sense: it takes you into entirely different directions and it has so much fun with exploring and experimenting, that it doesn’t matter in the slightest when things get a little messy. I was thoroughly charmed by pretty much everything about it.

The film poster showing LaKeith Stanfield with a bandaged head.
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Darkest Hour (2017)

Darkest Hour
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, David Strathairn
Seen on: 25.1.2018
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Plot:
Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) just became Prime Minister of the UK and he already has a huge decision to make: should he enter into peace negotiations with Nazi Germany or should he refuse any kind of arrangement with them, even if that means waging war against them? With less than enthusiastic support from the most powerful people around him, Churchill tries to make his decision.

To put it plainly, Darkest Hour is not a good film. Maybe it would have stood a chance with another (better) script, but what we got is just insufferable

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Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel ElgortKevin Spacey, Jon BernthalJon HammJamie Foxx, Eiza GonzálezLily JamesCJ JonesSky FerreiraFlea
Seen on: 1.8.2017
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Plot:
Baby (Ansel Elgort) loves music (that drowns out his tinnitus) and driving, at which he’s also very good. A fact that Doc (Kevin Spacey) is using to his own advantage: he coerced Baby to drive during the robberies he meticulously plans. But Baby will soon have worked off his debts with Doc and is looking forward to a free life then, maybe with Debora (Lily James). But Doc isn’t willing to give Baby up all that easily.

Baby Driver wasn’t bad, but I expected it to be more than just nice. It’s well-made but there are quite a few things that didn’t work for me. I can’t help but feeling disappointed about it.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Writer: Burr Steers
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, which is in turn an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Emma Greenwell
Seen on: 12.6.2016

Plot:
Early 19th century, England: A strange plague has befallen the land and the dead are rising. In the middle of all this confusion is the Bennett family. Mr Bennett (Charles Dance) has trained his daughters Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady) and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) in the deadly arts, but their mother (Sally Phillips) tries everything to get them married. So it is just as well, when two new young men enter their social lives – Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth), amiable and sweet and Mr Darcy (Sam Riley), arrogant and proud. Will the Bennett sisters find their perfect guys and not get eaten by unmentionables?

After my experience with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was very much prepared for needing all my sarcasm and irony (and alcohol) to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Turns out that many of my fears were unfunded – P&P&Z is often intentionally hilarious, even if it does have some weaknesses.

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Burnt (2015)

Burnt
Director: John Wells
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy, Sam Keeley, Henry Goodman, Matthew Rhys, Stephen Campbell Moore, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander, Lily James
Seen on: 16.12.2015

Plot:
Adam (Bradley Cooper) was the rising star in the cooking world before alcohol and drugs got the better of him. When his career was completely destroyed (plus the career of some of his friends for good measure), he set himself  the penance of shucking a million oysters. Three years later he is sober and as he reaches the final oyster, he is ready to give his career a new start. Activating all his old connections and bullying himself into a restaurant kitchen, he is ready to get that third Michelin star.

Burnt is a film about an asshole that for some reason is be believed the coolest person on the planet. The best that I can say about it is that it’s watchable and the cast is good. Other than that, though, I was mostly annoyed by it.

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Cinderella (2015)

Cinderella
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Chris Weitz
Based on: the Disney movie, which is in turn based on the fairy tale
Cast: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgård, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon
Seen on: 16.03.2015

Plot:
After her mother’s (Hayley Atwell) death, Ella’s (Lily James) father (Ben Chaplin) gets married again. Cinderella’s stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her two daughters (Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger) move in and change Ella’s life forever. When her father dies a short time later, Ella becomes Cinderella, a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters. When the Prince (Richard Madden) invites all unmarried women to a ball to choose his wife, Cinderella would like to go as well, but needs the help of her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) to do so. But there are still some difficulties to be faced until the happy end.

Cinderella brings the aesthetic of the animated Disney version to life and adds its own brand of humor. It is a little long at times and the script isn’t particularly good, but it’s enjoyable.

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