Now You See Me 2 (2016)

Now You See Me 2
Director: Jon M. Chu
Writer: Ed Solomon
Sequel to: Now You See Me
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Daniel Radcliffe, Morgan Freeman, Michael CaineSanaa Lathan, Jay Chou, Tsai Chin
Seen on: 5.9.2016

Plot:
After the last stunt they pulled, the Four Horsemen have to lie low. Danny (Jesse Eisenberg) is growing increasingly frustrated with the situation – he doesn’t want to hide anymore, while Dylan (Mark Ruffalo), working as a double agent at the FBI, does his best to keep them off the Horsemen’s real trail. But when Lula (Lizzy Caplan) shows up in Danny’s apartment with a whole lot of knowledge about the Horsemen, it seems that the time of hiding is over anyway. Danny calls together the remaining Horsemen – Jack (Dave Franco) and Merritt (Woody Harrelson) to figure out a plan, only to realize that Lula wants to become one of them. So they start planning their heist, but things don’t go as planned.

While Now You See Me was an entertaining, if far from perfect, romp, Now You See Me 2 was simply a catastrophe. The best thing I can say about it is that it wasn’t entirely boring.

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Youth (2015)

Youth
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Writer: Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Michael Caine, Harvey KeitelPaul DanoRachel Weisz, Alex MacqueenRobert Seethaler, Ed Stoppard, Paloma Faith, Jane Fonda
Seen on: 23.12.2015

Plot:
Fred (Michael Caine) is on holiday in a Swiss resort with his best friend Mick (Harvey Keitel). Mick is trying to write his latest screenplay, supposed to be his big oeuvre, together with a group of young writers. Fred is just trying to get some peace and quiet, when an emissary (Alex Macqueen) from the Queen of England approaches him to ask him to conduct his most famous symphony for Prince Philipp’s birthday, much to the surprise of the emissary and Fred’s daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz). Lena comes to visit but stays longer than planned when her husband and Mick’s son Julian (Ed Stoppard) announces that he’s leaving her.

I was very reluctant to see Youth. I was afraid that the film would be all about a couple of old guys olging young women (the poster suggests nothing different). Fortunately the lusting was kept to a minimum and there was a lot about the film that I enjoyed. It won’t become my favorite film ever, but it was far from as bad as I expected.

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The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

The Last Witch Hunter
Director: Breck Eisner
Writer: Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Cast: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Rena Owen, Julie Engelbrecht, Michael Caine, Joseph Gilgun, Isaach De Bankolé
Seen on: 4.11.2015

Plot:
Many, many, many years ago Kaulder (Vin Diesel) killed the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) who cursed him with immortality in the process. Ever since Kaulder has worked as a witch hunter. Now he is the last of his kind and most of the remaining witches live normal lives and stick to the rules. But then things start to go very wrong, starting with the murder of Kaulder’s scribe, advisor and friend, the 36th Dolan (Michael Caine). It appears that the Witch Queen isn’t quite as dead as Kaulder thought. Together with witch Chloe (Rose Leslie) and the 37th Dolan (Elijah Wood), Kaulder takes up the fight again.

I didn’t expect The Last Witch Hunter to actually be a good film, but I thought it would be an entertaining schlockfest. Unfortunately, the film aimed higher than that and ends up in the boring, disappointing middleground: not really bad, but not much good either.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ comic
Cast: Colin FirthTaron Egerton, Mark StrongSophie Cookson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Hanna Alström, Jack Davenport, Mark Hamill, Michael Caine
Seen on: 20.03.2015

Plot:
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a specialist for getting in trouble. When he’s arrested and facing actual jail time, he calls a number on his dead father’s medal that Eggsy got from a co-worker of his father, with the instruction to call if he ever needed help. A short while later Eggsy is released and introduced to Harry Hart (Colin Firth). It turns out that Eggsy’s father belonged to a privately run spy organization – the Kingsman and Hart still works there. The Kingsmen have taken some serious hits recently and are recruiting. Hart sees potential in Eggsy and so Eggsy finds himself in an entirely unknown world a short while later – not only the spy world, but also the mostly snooty upper class.

Kingsman was a fun film that proves not only Vaughn’s talent for directing action movies with awesome soundtracks, but also that the spy genre can be made fun of very easily and very lovingly. It is not completely issue-free though, even if the good parts outweigh the issues.

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Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaugheyAnne HathawayJessica Chastain, Wes BentleyDavid Gyasi, Michael Caine, Casey AffleckTopher GraceMatt Damon, John LithgowDavid Oyelowo, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie FoyTimothée Chalamet, Ellen Burstyn

Plot:
The earth is dying. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) used to be an engineer, but now he lives on a farm, trying to grow his own food, with his father (John Lithgow), his daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) and his son Tom (Timothée Chalamet). Murphy is convinced that their house is haunted and actually figures out a message – coordinates. Intrigued Cooper drives there and stumbles on the world’s largest space project, trying to find other viable planets. It’s headed by his former professor Brand (Michael Caine) who promptly asks Cooper to join their last chance to find a planet in time. Even though it means leaving his family behind, especially Murphy, Cooper agrees and together with Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), they take off.

Interstellar is a mixed bag of beans. Visually stunning, scientifically apparently accurate, at least for a while (not that I’d really know), and with all around great performances, it nevertheless fails when it comes to the storytelling.

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Mr. Morgan’s Last Love (2013)

Mr. Morgan’s Last Love
Director: Sandra Nettelbeck
Writer: Sandra Nettelbeck
Based on: Françoise Dorner’s novel La Douceur assassine
Cast: Michael Caine, Clémence Poésy, Gillian Anderson, Justin Kirk, Jane Alexander

Plot:
Matthew Morgan (Michael Caine) just lost his wife (Jane Alexander) of many years. He moved to France for her even though he barely speaks French and now he’s pretty much lost. And then he meets Pauline (Clémence Poésy) by chance, a young dance teacher who practically picks him up like a stray. Their friendship changes both their lives.

I was disappointed by Mr. Morgan’s Last Love. The movie is too sweet, too forseeable and, worst of all, it is too long. The cast wasn’t bad at all, but ultimately they couldn’t save the plot from itself. It’s still watchable, but you won’t miss much if you don’t see it.

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Now You See Me (2013)

Now You See Me
Director: Louis Leterrier
Writer: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Michael Kelly, Common

Plot:
Daniel (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt (Woody Harrelson), Henley (Isla Fisher) and Jack (Dave Franco) are talented magicians who get a mysterious invitation including instructions to form a magic troupe and pull off certain acts. Among those acts is a bank heist that skeptic Detective Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) have to investigate. But things are getting weirder and weirder.

Now You See Me is not a particularly smart or mind-blowing film, even though it tries very hard to be. But it is a movie that is fun and entertaining.

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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Based on: Bob Kane‘s comics
Sequel to: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight (1st review, 2nd review)
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway,   Morgan Freeman, Burn Gorman, Ben Mendelsohn, Matthew Modine, Aidan Gillen, Juno Temple, Daniel Sunjata, Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson

Plot:
Batman (Christian Bale) disappeared after taking the fall for Harvey Dent. But while Gotham City is getting cleaned up by the regular police now – and quite successfully so – a new threat is rising in the form of Bane (Tom Hardy). And when Bruce Wayne himself gets robbed by a Selena Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a cunning cat burglar, he decides that it might be time to come out of the retirement and face the world again.

I had very high expectations for this film (I mean, who hadn’t?) and while the film did not surpass them, it fulfilled them extremely well and was a very good ending to the trilogy.

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Based on: Bob Kane‘s comics
Sequel to: Batman Begins
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael CaineGary Oldman, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Eric Roberts, Chin Han
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Gotham’s streets are considerably cleaner since the Batman (Christian Bale) started his work. Nevertheless, the mob is still going strong. So when the up and coming DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and Lt Gordon (Gary Oldman) ask Batman to help with the rest, he doesn’t say know. But at the same time, a new villain is trying to make the Batman’s life hell: the Joker (Heath Ledger).

I know I just gushed about Batman Begins, but I have to gush even more about The Dark Knight. It does have its faults, but it’s fucking amazing and even better than the first film.

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan
Based on: Bob Kane‘s comics
Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Mark Boone Junior

Plot:
After the death of his parents in a robbery and a foiled attempt to kill their murderer, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) leaves the country to search for something else entirely. While his hometown of Gotham City is slowly falling apart and swallowed by crime, Bruce ends up first in a prison, then with the League of Shadows, a mysterious organisation that wants to fight corruption, where he is trained by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson). But when Bruce finds out about the actual goals of the League, he decides that he’d rather come home to Gotham and fight crime on his own terms – as the Batman.

Batman Begins is a wonderful start to the trilogy, and a film that is not only still enjoyable when you’ve seen the 10th time (or so), but also one that stands the test of time very well.

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