Self/less (2015)

Self/less
Director: Tarsem Singh
Writer: Àlex Pastor, David Pastor
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Matthew Goode, Ben Kingsley, Victor Garber, Derek Luke, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Melora Hardin, Michelle Dockery
Seen on: 14.5.2020

Plot:
Damian (Ben Kingsley) has led a hugely successful life, regretting only that he is estranged from his daughter Claire (Michelle Dockery). Now he is old, rich and dying. But he doesn’t feel ready to die just yet, so he is happy when he discovers Albright (Matthew Goode), a scientist who promises that he can have a new, freshly grown body and start all over again. Damian agrees to the procedure. When he wakes up, his body (Ryan Reynolds) lives up to all of his dreams. As he gets used to it, though, he also keeps getting haunted by dreams and nightmares that appear to him more real than they have any right to be.

Self/less is a decent film. Nothing here says greatness, but it isn’t bad either. It is like a case study for solid entertainment of a kind that has gotten rarer in recent years as budgets have grown and shrunk, leaving few players in the middle of the field.

The film poster showing older Damian (Ben Kingsley) and younger Damian (Ryan Reynolds) lying on slabs in front of medical machinery.
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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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The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game
Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Graham Moore
Based on: Andrew Hodges‘ book Alan Turing: The Enigma
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, Tuppence Middleton
Seen on: 01.02.2015

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.

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Belle (2013)

Belle
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Misan Sagay
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sam Reid, Tom Wilkinson, Emily WatsonPenelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, James Norton, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode

Plot:
18th century Britain. John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) had a relationship with a black woman which resulted in a daughter. He decides to accept Belle as his own despite being a nobleman and she being black and brings her to his aunt and uncle, Lady (Emily Watson) and Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) while he himself has to go back to sea. Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) grows up as a noblewoman together with her cousin Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon). But in a country where slavery is still going strong, Belle will never be a fully accepted member of society.

Belle was a wonderful film: sweet, romantic, political, feminist, outspoken and beautiful. It became my favorite Jane Austen movie without actual Jane Austen involvment straight away.

belle

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Stoker (2013)

Stoker
Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Wentworth Miller, Erin Cressida Wilson
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole KidmanJacki WeaverDermot Mulroney, Alden Ehrenreich, Harmony Korine

Plot:
India (Mia Wasikowska) just lost her father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) in a car accident. But on the day of his funeral, her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) appears. India didn’t know he existed and her mother Evie (Nicole Kidman) barely knew it herself. Charlie stays and slowly gets closer to India, who is initially abrasive. But he does seem to have his own agenda.

I expected grand things of Stoker. And despite my high expectations, I was completely blown away by how good the film actually is. It’s tense, it’s beautiful and it has an amazing cast. Hats off to everybody.

stoker

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Cemetery Junction (2010)

Cemetery Junction is the newest movie by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, starring Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan, Felicity Jones, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

Plot:
1973. Freddie (Christian Cooke) just got a job at the local insurance company, which he believes will make all his dreams come true – house, wife, kids, not working in a factory like his friend Bruce (Tom Hughes). But things get shaken up when it turns out that Freddie’s mentor Mike (Matthew Goode) is dating the boss’ (Ralph Fiennes) daughter Julie (Felitcity Jones). Julie and Freddie used to be friends as kids, and hit it off again right away.

Cemetery Junction is not what you expect Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant movie. Neither of them plays a big part and their usual humor is mostly absent. Instead, it’s a sweet, funny and romantic coming-of-age story.

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A Single Man (2009)

A Single Man is the first movie by Tom Ford, based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood and starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult and (in a mini-role) Lee Pace.

Plot:
George (Colin Firth) has a good life He has a nice house in a good neighbourhood and a work he loves. But ever since his boyfriend of many years, Jim (Matthew Goode), died, it all started to feel empty to him.
The movie shows one day in George’s life as he tries to cope.

A Single Man was great, totally deserving of the accolades it’s gotten. It’s a very aesthetic movie, wonderfully shot and very well acted. I wasn’t surprised how the plot developped but it was just beautiful to watch it unfold.

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Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen is the adaptation of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Here’s my review of that), directed by Zack Snyder and starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffery Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson.

Plot:
In a parallel world, it’s 1985 and Nixon is still president of the United States. In the 40s, actual masked vigilantes appeared, which led to a ban in the 70s. Now, most of the vigilantes are retired. The story follows several of these more or less retired figures, namely Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman), Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
The Comedian is murdered and Rorschach, the only vigilante left, who is not retired and doesn’t work for the government is convinced that someone is killing off their old group. His investigations lead him deeper and deeper into the problematic world of the “superheroes”.

I was afraid that movie would suck because the original material is just so complex and layered and it’s hard to get this into one movie that still makes sense. But Snyder and his writers (David Hayter and Alex Tse) did a very good job, changing the right things, while still sticking close to the original. Though there are weaknesses in writing where they deviate from the original material. Despite some cringe-worthy scenes, it’s definitely a movie that I enjoyed.

watchmen

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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