Swiss Army Man (2016)

Swiss Army Man
Director: Dan KwanDaniel Scheinert
Writer: Daniel Scheinert, Dan Kwan
Cast: Paul DanoDaniel RadcliffeMary Elizabeth Winstead
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island. His only company is Manny (Daniel Radcliffe). It’s just that Manny is actually dead. But he is still able to speak and his body has some absolutely perfect properties for Hank’s escape. So the two of them make their way back home. And the longer they travel together, the more they discover about each other.

It’s hard to put into words how strange Swiss Army Man actually is and how much that strangeness benefits it without it being a gimmick. Much too often, the strangeness of a film feels like posturing, here it is an absolutely central part of the film’s heart and soul – and it’s got a lot of those, transforming Swiss Army Man into a magical experience that is bound to make you emotional.

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10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10 Cloverfield Lane
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Writer: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
Prequel to: [very kinda] Cloverfield
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr., Bradley Cooper [as a voice cameo]
Seen on: 9.4.2016

Plot:
Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) gets into a car accident. When she wakes up, she finds herself chained and locked in a room in a bunker. As he frees her Howard (John Goodman) explains to her that he found her and brought her to his bunker because something has happened outside that makes the very air poisonous. With them in the bunker is Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) who confirms Howard’s story and says that he fought his way into the bunker to get away from the outside. Michelle is suspicious though and plots her escape.

10 Cloverfield Lane was a thoroughly entertaining, tense film with a great cast. While it did stumble here and there, altogether it raced through its story and dragged the audience right along with it.

10cloverfieldlane

[SPOILERS]

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A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

A Good Day to Die Hard
Director: John Moore
Writer: Skip Woods
Sequel to: Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Yuliya Snigir, Radivoje BukvicMary Elizabeth Winstead and about three delicious seconds of Aldis Hodge

Plot:
John McClane (Bruce Willis) hasn’t heard from his son Jack (Jai Courtney) in years, and he now finds out that Jack has been arrested for murder in Russia. So John flies to Moscow to help, if possible. But as he arrives at the courthouse, a bomb explodes and Jack makes a run for it, together with political prisoner Komarov (Sebastian Koch). Turns out that there is more to the story than a delinquent son and John finds himself in the middle of it.

Oh boy. I think the most positive thing I can say about this movie that it’s at least not as racist and misogynistic as Live Free or Die Hard. But everything else… No. Just no. There is really nothing redeeming about it.

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Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Live Free or Die Hard
Director: Len Wiseman
Writer: Mark Bomback
Based on: John Carlin‘s article A Farewell to Arms
Sequel to: Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard: With a Vengeance
Cast: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long, Maggie Q, Cliff Curtis, Kevin Smith, Zeljko Ivanek, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Plot:
After the FBI has been hacked, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is supposed to bring in Matthew (Justin Long), a suspected hacker. What should be a routine pick-up and drop-off, ends up in a full-blown shoot-out. And suddenly McClane finds himself right in the middle of the biggest hack of the century, trying to avoid the complete dismantling of the financial system.

After I actually liked the third Die Hard movie, I thought that I had finally hit my stride with these films. Unfortunately McClane is totally unhinged in this film, and they liberally peppered the script with misogyny and racism. That is not cool.

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, Jimmi Simpson

Plot:
When Abraham (Benjamin Walker) was a child, he had to watch as the vampire Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) killed his mother. Years later, still filled with thoughts of revenge, he tries to kill Barts and has to be saved by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who then goes on to teach him how to fight vampires – but on the condition that Abe only kills the vampires Henry points out. After training is over, Abe moves to Springfield where he works for Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) as a store clerk, studies law and kills vampires. But his thirst for revenge is still not satisfied.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is absolutely trashtastic. By which I mean, it is not a good movie, in fact quite the opposite, but it is an extremely entertaining one.

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Sky High (2005)

Sky High
Director: Mike Mitchell
Writer: Paul Hernandez, Robert Schooley, Mark McCorkle
Cast: Michael Angarano, Danielle Panabaker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Steven Strait, Kelly Preston, Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell

Plot:
Will (Michael Angarano) is the son of the Superhero couple, Jetstream (Kelly Preston) and The Commander (Kurt Russell). Unfortunately, Will himself doesn’t seem to have any superpowers. Which wouldn’t be that much of a problem if his first day at Sky High wasn’t coming up, the Superhero High School. Pressure is on: with parents like that, everybody expects great powers from him. When he gets there with his best friend Layla (Danielle Panabaker) and his powers still don’t kick in, things seem to go from bad to worse.

Sky High is a pretty standard high school movies and despite the added superpowers and the occasional poking fun at superhero tropes, it doesn’t really get geeky or even nerdy. Nevertheless it’s nice and fun.

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is Edgar Wright‘s adaptation of Brian Lee O’Malley‘s comic series. It stars Michael Cera, Ellen Wong, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzman.

Plot:
Scott (Michael Cera) is finally getting back into dating after a bad break-up. So he has a kind of non-relationship with high school student Knives (Ellen Wong). But then he meets Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) quite literally the girl of his dreams. They hit it off but then Scott learns that Ramona has seven exes he needs to defeat before he’ll be allowed to actually date her.

I very much expected to like Scott Pilgrim. But while I liked bits and pieces, the immensly crappy gender politics of it all overshadowed everything and drained the movie of all enjoyment.

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