Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Director: Jon Watts
Writer: Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher FordChris McKennaErik Sommers
Based on: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s comic
Cast: Tom HollandMichael KeatonRobert Downey Jr.Marisa TomeiJon FavreauGwyneth PaltrowZendayaDonald GloverJacob BatalonLaura HarrierTony RevoloriHannibal BuressAngourie RiceMartin StarrMichael ChernusLogan Marshall-GreenJennifer ConnellyChris Evans
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 18.7.2017
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Plot:
Peter (Tom Holland) is excited about the new superpowers he has gained and wants to become a proper superhero, like Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who recruited him not too long ago. But now Tony is keeping him at arm’s length and Peter is supposed to keep a low profile and go to high school, when he just wants to be properly heroic Spider-Man. When a new villain makes an appearance, Peter can’t keep still, though. Something needs to be done. And if nobody else does it, he will.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is entertaining and fun and has its fair share of problems. I enjoyed it, but not without reservations.

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr.Sebastian Stan, Scarlett JohanssonAnthony Mackie, Don CheadleJeremy Renner, Chadwick BosemanPaul BettanyElizabeth OlsenPaul RuddEmily VanCampTom HollandDaniel BrühlFrank GrilloMartin FreemanWilliam Hurt, Marisa TomeiJohn KaniJohn SlatteryHope DavisAlfre WoodardStan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 1.5.2016

Plot:
After the recent events surrounding the Avengers, the UN feels it necessary to institute some kind of regulation for the action of superheroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who feels guilty about all the damage, destruction and death that happened on his watch and due to his decisions, thinks that’s a very good idea, while Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) fears that they will cease to be an effective task force, bogged down by bureaucracy, if they have to wait for approval by somebody else. And who’s to say that that somebody will make the right decisions and work for the right things? This disagreement causes a schism in the Avengers – a schism that only gets broader when Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is accused of planting a bomb in the UN meeting where the regulation is to be discussed and Steve wants to protect him at all cost.

I like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So far, the films were always entertaining, even if varying in quality. With Avengers: Age of Ultron, [or with Guardians of the Galaxy although that isn’t that closely connected] they started to stumble, though and those smaller missteps are starting to get more notable the longer the series goes on. Civil War proves that: while it was far from awful and delivered on many counts, I felt more unsatisfied with it than with most of the earlier MCU films.

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The Big Short (2015)

The Big Short
Director: Adam McKay
Writer: Charles Randolph, Adam McKay
Based on: Michael Lewisbook
Cast: Christian BaleSteve Carell, Ryan GoslingBrad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, Rafe Spall, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy StrongJohn MagaroFinn Wittrock, Melissa Leo, Karen Gillan, Max GreenfieldBilly Magnussen, Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, Anthony Bourdain, Richard Thaler
Seen on: 20.1.2016

Plot:
Michael Burry (Christian Bale) may not have many social skills, but he knows finance. And he knows that something will have to give in the world of finance – and that he can profit from the banks’ greed if he plays his card rights. So he starts betting against banks, assuming that the loans they give out will start to collapse. His tactic becomes known to Wall Street Broker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) who approaches fund manager Mark Baum (Steve Carell) with the proposal to do the same. At the same time, college kids Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) enlist veteran investor Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to join into their own version of Burry’s scheme.

The Big Short treads pretty much the same ground as Margin Call, only that it is much more entertaining and made me understand the bursting of the real estate bubble much more.

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Love the Coopers (2015)

Love the Coopers
Director: Jessie Nelson
Writer: Steven Rogers
Cast: Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Alex Borstein, Timothée Chalamet, Maxwell Simkins, Blake Baumgartner, Amanda Seyfried, Alan Arkin, Marisa Tomei, Olivia Wilde, Jake Lacy, June Squibb, Anthony Mackie, Steve Martin
Seen on: 9.12.2015

Plot:
Christmas is just around the corner and Charlotte Cooper (Diane Keaton) is preparing for Christmas dinner with her family – her father Bucky (Alan Arkin), her sister Emma (Marisa Tomei), her husband Sam (John Goodman) and their children Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) and Hank (Ed Helms) including his currently-divorcing wife Angie (Alex Borstein) and their children Charlie (Timothée Chalamet), Bo (Maxwell Simkins) and Madison (Blake Baumgartner). But not all is well with the Coopers: Sam wants to separate from Charlotte but has promised one last Christmas without the family knowing. Emma gets caught shoplifting. Bucky’s closest relationship – with waitress Ruby (Amanda Seyfried) – is threatened when Ruby tells him she will leave town. Hank has lost his job in addition to the divorce and doesn’t want to let his family know. And Eleanor would rather spend the day at the airport than one minute longer than necessary with her family. There she meets soldier Joe (Jake Lacy) and hits it off with him.

Love the Coopers is exactly what you’d expect from an USAmerican Christmas family movie. It’s basically trivial, but rather nice to watch.

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Trainwreck (2015)

Trainwreck
Director: Judd Apatow
Writer: Amy Schumer
Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie LarsonLeBron James, John CenaVanessa Bayer, Randall ParkMike Birbiglia, Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton, Daniel RadcliffeMarisa Tomei, Method Man, Matthew Broderick, Marv Albert, Chris Evert
Seen on: 18.8.2015

Plot:
Amy (Amy Schumer) doesn’t believe in relationships. She’d rather have sex with random guys while dating Steven (John Cena) who is nice to look at but not exactly a rocket in bed. But then Amy has to do a story on sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader) for the magazine she works at. Amy has as little interest in sports as she has in monogamy, but Aaron is actually a nice guy. And he likes Amy. He even asks her out, forcing Amy to take a long hard look at her life and to decide whether it’s really the life she wants to lead.

I’m not a huge fan of Apatow (though I did love Freaks and Geeks), so I usually give his movies a wide pass. But I had heard good things about Amy Schumer, and since Trainwreck is also written by her, I decided to give it a try. And I have to admit that the movie worked pretty well for me.

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Love Is Strange (2014)

Love Is Strange
Director: Ira Sachs
Writer: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias
Cast: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Darren E. Burrows, Charlie Tahan, Harriet Sansom Harris, Cheyenne Jackson, Manny Perez
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 15.6.2015

Plot:
Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) have been together forever and now, finally, gay marriage has been made legal, so they go for it and celebrate. But their celebration is of short duration since George is fired from his teaching job because of the wedding and Ben’s income isn’t enough to keep the two of them in their apartment. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Ben moves in with his nephew (Darren E. Burrows), his wife (Marisa Tomei) and their son (Charlie Tahan), while George finds refuge with their neighbors (Cheyenne Jackson, Manny Perez). But the situation is less than ideal for everybody involved.

Love Is Strange is a nice film with important social commentary, but some pacing issues and an ending at the wrong time.

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The Ides of March (2011)

The Ides of March
Director: George Clooney
Writer: George Clooney
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, George Clooney, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Stephen (Ryan Gosling) is one of the PR guys for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) who is running for president. Even though Stephen is young, he is rather experienced and his career is definitely on the rise, while at the same time he managed to retain some idealism. He honestly believes in Mike. Mike’s campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is the experienced, jaded counterpoint to his idealism. But even though they make a very good team, things in politics are never easy and only get trickier.

I was a bit worried since I’m usually quickly bored by these politics plots. I’m just not that interested. But the cast is an absolute dream come true, and Clooney really is a very talented director, so I still had hope. And my hopes were completely justified. It’s a brilliant film.

[That poster kinda freaks me out.]

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Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is the newest film by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, written by Dan Fogelman, starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon and Josh Groban.

Plot:
Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) have been married for quite a while and the heat is pretty much gone. And then Emily asks for a divorce. Cal is heartbroken and loses all sense of orientation. That is, until womanizer Jacob (Ryan Gosling) finds him and takes pity on him. Jacob basically gives Cal a make-over and shows him how to pick up women. But will that make either of them happy?

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a wonderful romcom. It’s sweet, it’s actually funny, the performances are good and really did surprise me. An evening very well spent.

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The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

The Lincoln Lawyer is Brad Furman‘s adaptation of Michael Connelly‘s novel, written by John Romano, starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña and Bryan Cranston.

Plot:
Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is pretty much the definition of a sleazy lawyer. But then he takes on the defense of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a rich kid accused of murder. Together with his best friend, private detective Frank Levin (William H. Macy) he digs into the particulars of the case. Pretty soon he discovers that the story Louis is telling can’t be quite true – and there might be a connection to one of Mick’s old cases.

The Lincoln Lawyer is basically the cinematical equivalent of fast food. There’s some nurtitional value to it, it will satisfy your hunger – but only for a little while. Is it a culinary delight? Well, no. But it does its job without leaving much behind, good or bad.

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Cyrus (2010)

[Viennale.]

Cyrus is the newest movie by Mark and Jay Duplass, starring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill and Catherine Keener.

Plot:
John (John C. Reilly) is in a depressed hole and has been there for quite a while. Maybe even since he split up with Jamie (Catherine Keener), who remains his friend. One night at a party, he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei). They hit it off right away and John falls in love. But Molly has a grown son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill) and neither Molly nor Cyrus seem to be able to let go of each other.

There were quite a few things I appreciated about this film – foremost the acting, but also the way the characters talked to each other – but in the end, it remains yet another story about two guys fighting for the girl where the girl gets no say in the matter. That the two guys are not two lovers but the lover and the son makes hardly any difference. And there are way too many films about this already.

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