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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The Dinner (2017)

The Dinner
Director: Oren Moverman
Writer: Oren Moverman
Based on: Herman Koch‘s novel
Cast: Richard GereLaura LinneySteve CooganRebecca HallChloë SevignyMichael ChernusCharlie PlummerSeamus Davey-FitzpatrickMiles J. Harvey
Seen on: 20.6.2017
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Plot:
Paul (Steve Coogan), a history teacher, and his wife Claire (Laura Linney) are meeting Paul’s brother Stan (Richard Gere), a successful politician, and his second wife Katelyn (Rebecca Hall) for dinner. Paul obviously doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t actually like Stan a lot and he’s struggling with his mental health. But something happened that involves Paul and Claire’s son, as well as Stan’s kids from his first marriage. And the four present parents need to decide what to do about what happened.

The Dinner managed to completely dismantle white, rich privilege without ever leaving the privileged perspective. Nothing in this film is okay, but it is worth looking at the issues exactly because of that.

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Complete Unknown (2016)

Complete Unknown
Director: Joshua Marston
Writer: Joshua Marston, Julian Sheppard
Cast: Rachel WeiszMichael ShannonAzita GhanizadaKathy BatesDanny GloverMichael ChernusChris Lowell
Seen on: 26.4.2017

Plot:
Tom (Michael Shannon) and his wife Ramina (Azita Ghanizada) expect guests for dinner. Ramina is a jewelry designer who has recently been accepted into a design program across the country. Tom is ambivalent about moving and leaving his work behind. But before they can fight about this (again), their guests arrive and interrupt. Among them is Tom’s co-worker Clyde (Michael Chernus) who brought a date – the lovely Alice (Rachel Weisz). Michael is sure he knows Alice, but refers to her as Jenny. Her sudden re-appearance in Tom’s life throws him for a loop.

From the description I expected Complete Unknown to be an entirely different film, a thriller, something dramatic, dark and tension-filled. Instead I got a dialogue-driven rumination on identity. It wasn’t bad by a long-shot, but I did feel a little disappointed by that as the turn to darkness never came. Fortunately not for long, though.

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Mistress America (2015)

Mistress America
Director: Noah Baumbach
Writer: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig
Cast: Lola Kirke, Greta Gerwig, Matthew ShearHeather Lind, Michael Chernus, Cindy Cheung
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Tracy (Lola Kirke) ist about to start college in New York. She doesn’t know anybody there though and has trouble connecting, especially when she doesn’t make it into the prestigious writer’s club on campus. Her mother suggests that Tracy should call the daughter of the mother’s fiancé, her soon-to-be-stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig). Brooke enthusiastically lets Tracy into her life that is quite wild and unusual. Tracy is enraptured by Brooke, Brooke’s life and her myriad plans that never seem to come to any fruition.

If I hadn’t already been in love with Greta Gerwig before Mistress America, I would be now. The film is very good, but she is awesome personified.

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Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain Phillips
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Billy Ray
Based on: Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty’s book
Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, Catherine Keener, Max Martini

Plot:
Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) has been a container ship captain for a while. But during his recent trip, things start to go wrong when their ship is being followed by a group of Somali pirates, led by Muse (Barkhad Abdi). Phillips can thwart their first attack, but then he finds his ship taken over. And that’s just the beginning.

Captain Phillips starts off very well but then it all got a bit much for me. But Greengrass never lets it get boring and Tom Hanks hasn’t impressed me as much since about forever.

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Men in Black III (2012)

Men in Black III
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Etan Cohen
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black, Men in Black II
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Hader, Emma Thompson, Will Arnett, Michael Chernus, Alice Eve, David Rasche

Plot:
Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), one of the most dangerous criminals in the universe, manages to escape from Lunar prison, where he was sent by Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) many years ago. With his mind set on revenge, he finds a way to travel back in time to 1969, where he kills Agent K before he can arrest Boris. That is not only tragic on a personal level, but puts the entire earth in jeopardy. Fortunately, Agent J (Will Smith) somehow still remembers K and travels back in time, too, to save his then young partner (Josh Brolin).

I did not have very high hopes for this film, but it turns out that it is actually quite nice. While it is not quite as good as the first film, it has its heart in the right place, it’s entertaining and it manages to steer clear of the sexism that ruined the second one. I’d say that’s a win.

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