Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

Florence Foster Jenkins
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Nicholas Martin
Cast: Meryl StreepHugh GrantSimon HelbergRebecca FergusonNina AriandaStanley TownsendAllan CordunerChristian McKayDavid HaigJohn Sessions
Seen on: 30.11.2016

Plot:
Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) loves singing opera and dreams of performing for a big crowd. And since she’s rich, she has the means to make her dreams come true, despite the fact that she can’t actually sing. Her husband St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) is devoted to her and wants to make sure that she’ll be able to perform without being ridiculed. He hires pianist Cosmé McMoon (Simon Helberg) to practice with her and together the two men form an alliance to get Florence on the stage.

Florence Foster Jenkins didn’t blow me away, but it was a sweet and entertaining film that I enjoyed.

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Suffragette (2015)

Suffragette
Director: Sarah Gavron
Writer: Abi Morgan
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie DuffHelena Bonham Carter, Romola GaraiGrace Stottor, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, Meryl Streep
Seen on: 09.02.2016

Plot:
Maud (Carey Mulligan) has spent more or less her entire life working as a washer woman in a factory. Quite to the contrary to her co-worker Violet (Anne-Marie Duff), Maud is trying to keep her head down. Violet, on the other hand, is a passionate suffragette, fighting for women’s rights. But the longer Maud hears about this fight, the more she finds herself drawn to it, slowly stumbling into the movement until she herself has to make some hard choices about her life.

The reactions to Suffragette I encountered so far were lukewarm at best – and I’m the next person with that reaction to add to the list. It’s not really a bad film, but it isn’t very good, either.

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Ricki and the Flash (2015)

Ricki and the Flash
Director: Jonathan Demme
Writer: Diablo Cody
Cast: Meryl StreepKevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Rick SpringfieldAudra McDonald, Sebastian StanNick Westrate, Hailey Gates, Ben PlattBill Irwin
Seen on: 9.9.2015

Plot:
Ricki (Meryl Streep) is a singer with her own band, but also a dayjob at a supermarket. Many years ago, she decided to pursue her music rather than stay with her family and is estranged from both her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) and her children Julie (Mamie Gummer), Josh (Sebastian Stan) and Adam (Nick Westrate) who were brought up by Pete’s new wife Maureen (Audra McDonald). But after Julie separates from her husband and falls into a deep depression, Pete calls Ricki for help, forcing all of them to take stock of their relationships with each other.

Ricki and the Flash is an entertaining film with a great cast. I probably won’t remember it forever, but I had fun while it lasted.

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Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
Writer. James Lapine
Based on: James Lapine‘s (book) and Stephen Sondheim‘s (music and lyrics) musical, which is in turn based on a few Brothers Grimm fairy tales
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Lilla CrawfordChris Pine, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Mauzy, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Meryl Streep, Simon Russell Beale, Johnny Depp, Frances de la Tour
Seen on: 11.3.2015

Plot:
The baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) dream of having a child, but due to a curse by the evil witch (Meryl Streep), they can’t conceive. But the witch offers to reverse the curse – if they bring her certain items: a cow as white as milk, hair the color of corn, a golden slipper and a red cape. They set off into the woods where they hope to find all of those items. As luck will have it, Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) runs away from her prince (Chris Pine) in golden slippers, Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) tries to sell his white cow, Litte Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) is visiting her gran in her red cape and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) and her blonde hair meet her prince (Billy Magnussen) – all in those same woods. But things don’t go quite as planned.

The first half of Into the Woods is extremely enjoyable. In the second half, the plot completely unravels, but at least cast and production design are still awesome.

Into_the_Woods

[SPOILERS]

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The Homesman (2014)

The Homesman
Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Writer: Tommy Lee Jones,Kieran Fitzgerald, Wesley A. Oliver
Based on: Glendon Swarthout‘s novel
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, David Dencik, William Fichtner, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep
Seen on: 06.01.2015

Plot:
At the very west of the settling effort in the USA, three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) have a psychotic break and there are no options for help in the settlements and their husbands (David Dencik, William Fichtner, Jesse Plemons) are partly overwhelmed and partly cruel, but generally of not much use. Reverend Dowd (John Lithgow) suggest that the women should be taken back east to get some help, and the only one willing to do that is Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) who is trying to build her life in the west on her own. Mary Bee stumbles upon George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been left to hang, and saves his life, but demands that he come with her to bring the women to safety. And so the five of them set off on the dangerous trek, despite the general unwillingness of everybody involved but Mary Bee.

The Homesman could have been a good film, if it hadn’t been for George Briggs and the movie’s obsession with him.

the-homesman[SPOILERS]

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The Giver (2014)

The Giver
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writer: Michael Mitnick, Robert B. Weide
Based on: Lois Lowry’s novel
Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift, Emma Tremblay

Plot:
Jonas’ (Brenton Thwaites) final year-ceremony is approaching – which is especially exciting because all kids get their community assignment at that point. That means that they’ll finally find out what their role and duty will be in their community. Contrary to many other kids, Jonas has no idea what he is suited for. But he certainly did not expect to be announced as the new Receiver of Memories – he doesn’t even know what it is the Receiver (Jeff Bridges) does. When he starts his apprenticeship, the role of the receiver is far from the only thing he learns though.

I generally liked the book but wasn’t particularly blown away by it. The same pretty much goes for the film. Some things were nicely done, others I didn’t care much for – especially where the film deviates from the book.

thegiver

[SPOILERS]

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August: Osage County (2013)

August: Osage County
Director: John Wells
Writer: Tracy Letts
Based on: his play
Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregorMargo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Misty Upham

Plot:
When their father (Sam Shepard) dies, Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) all gather home with their mother Violet (Meryl Streep). Everyone comes with their baggage: Barbara and her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) are separated but haven’t told their family and their daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin) doesn’t deal very well. Ivy has a secret lover. Karen brings home her newest fiancé (Dermot Mulroney). And Violet, a mean-spirited pill-addict, likes to stir things up.

August: Osage County isn’t always easy to watch but it is always well-acted and engaging. Toward the end I thought that it got a little much but altogether it was a really good film.

augustosagecounty

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Hope Springs (2012)

Hope Springs
Director: David Frankel
Writer: Vanessa Taylor
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell

Plot:
After 35 years of marriage, Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) co-exist rather than actually live together. After stumbling on a couple’s therapist, Kay decides that something needs to be done. So she arranges for her and Arnold to travel to Hope Springs and see said therapist, Dr. Feld (Steve Carell). Arnold grudgingly comes along, even though he’d rather leave things as they are. But can a week’s worth of intense therapy really save their marriage?

Hope Springs is a sweet film. Though it is a bit more serious than you might think, it tells its story well and with a whole lot of empathy.

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The Iron Lady (2011)

The Iron Lady
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Writer: Abi Morgan
Cast: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd, Iain Glen, Anthony Stewart Head, Olivia Colman, Richard E. Grant

Plot:
After a long political career, Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) who is slowly losing her grip on her mind and reality, reminisces about her life, career and family, a hallucination of her deceased husband Denis (Jim Broadbent) her constant companion. Born as Margaret Roberts (Alexandra Roach), daughter of a grocer (Iain Glen), she fought her way up, always with the support of Denis (Harry Lloyd).

I did enjoy The Iron Lady. Meryl Streep is amazing and I did like the structure of the script. But I would have wished for a little more of her politics and a little less of her private life.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Fantastic Mr. Fox is the newest stop-motion animation movie by Wes Anderson, based on the book by Roald Dahl, starring the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzmann, Michael Gambon, Owen Wilson, Jarvis Cocker and Willem Dafoe.

Plot:
Mr. Fox (George Clooney) is a great thief, but sometimes, he risks too much. When Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) gets pregnant, he promises her that he would quit stealing.
A few years later, the Foxes move into a new tree, right across the three biggest and meanest farmers around, Boggis, Bunce and Bean (Michael Gambon). And Mr. Fox can’t help himself – he takes up the thieving again, bringing on problems not only for his family but for all the animals around him.

Even though the plot stayed basically the same as in the book, not much of Roald Dahl is left in the movie. Which in itself is not a bad thing (but a pity). Unfortunately, Anderson outwhimsied himself [(c) deadra] and just got way over the top with this film, at least for me.

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