Assassin’s Creed (2016)

Assassin’s Creed
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writer: Michael LesslieAdam CooperBill Collage
Based on: the video game franchise
Cast: Michael FassbenderMarion CotillardJeremy IronsBrendan GleesonCharlotte RamplingMichael Kenneth WilliamsDenis MénochetAriane LabedKhalid AbdallaEssie Davis
Seen on: 5.1.2017

Plot:
Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) was sentenced to die. But the Abstergo Company fake his death instead and bring him to Madrid. As Abstergo’s CEO Rikkin (Jeremy Irons) explains, Cal’s ancestor belonged to a brotherhood of assassins, and they need him to access his own genetic memories to find the Apple of Eden, an artifact that belongs to the Templars and that has been historically protected by the Assassin’s Creed. Cal is more than reluctant to participate until Rikkin’s daughter Sofia (Marion Cotillard) puts him into the Animus – a machine that makes it able to access his genetic memories.

Assassin’s Creed was impressively nonsensical and it was far from pretty enough to make up for the incredible stupidity. I saw it on January 5th and it was clearly one of my biggest mistakes of the year that I did not bring alcohol to the screening.

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The Light Between Oceans (2016)

The Light Between Oceans
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writer: Derek Cianfrance
Based on: M.L. Stedman’s novel
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Florence Clery, Jack Thompson, Thomas Unger, Anthony Hayes, Benedict Hardie
Seen on: 20.9.2016

Plot:
Tom (Michael Fassbender) has signed up to be the lighthouse keeper on a small island just off the coast of a small town in Australia. On the rare occasions that he gets to come to the main land and see people, he meets Isabel (Alicia Vikander) and they quickly fall in love. Isabel is happy to lead the solitary lighthouse keeper life with Tom and would love nothing more than a baby. Much to her chagrin, she keeps miscarrying though, so it feels like fate when a boat with a baby washes up on their island during a storm. Tom only wants to see Isabel happy, so he agrees to keep the child. But when they hear of Hannah (Rachel Weisz) whose husband and child were lost during the storm, they will have to make a decision.

The Light Between Oceans is one of the cheesiest films I ever saw. It’s high-quality cheese, no doubt about it, but it was all a little too much for me, ultimately keeping me at a distance.

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X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

X-Men: Apocalypse
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Sequel to: X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas HoultOscar IsaacRose ByrneEvan PetersSophie TurnerTye Sheridan, Lucas Till, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp, Lana Condor, Olivia MunnZeljko Ivanek, Hugh Jackman, Stan Lee
Seen on: 25.5.2016

Plot:
Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is busy with running his school for mutants and finding misunderstood and mistreated mutants around the world with the help of Raven (Jennifer Lawrence). In the meantime, Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) has decided to disappear into a quiet and very normal life. But when an immortal, very dangerous and most powerful mutant, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), finds himself returned to consciousness after millennia of sleep, it becomes clear that they can only oppose him together.

So far, I really enjoyed this generation of X-Men movies and X-Men Apocalypse was a another thoroughly satisfying entry into the series. Especially after my rather lukewarm reaction to Captain America: Civil War, it was nice to get a superhero movie that manages to keep the quality of its predecessors, even if it doesn’t really add anything new to the story.

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Steve Jobs (2015)

Steve Jobs
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Based on: Walter Isaacson‘s book Steve Jobs
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Makenzie Moss, Sarah Snook, John Ortiz
Seen on: 13.11.2015

Plot:
Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is preparing for product launches at three moments in his life. Just before the shows he puts on, he is confronted with various friends and colleagues who have things to discuss with him in very different stages of his life. But there’s also his daughter Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Makenzie Moss) who is trying to build a relationship with her father.

Steve Jobs is a well-paced film with beautiful dialogues that manage to cover up the film’s shortcomings enough that it’s very enjoyable to watch.

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Macbeth (2015)

Macbeth
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writer: Todd Louiso, Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s play
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, David Thewlis, Scot Greenan, Jack ReynorSean HarrisElizabeth Debicki, Brian Nickels, Kayla Fallon, Lynn Kennedy, Seylan Baxter, Amber Rissmann
Seen on: 6.11.2015

Plot:
Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) and Banquo (Paddy Considine) just fought successfully for King Duncan (David Thewlis) and are finally on their way home. In the woods, they meet four witches (Kayla Fallon, Lynn Kennedy, Seylan Baxter, Amber Rissmann) who predict, among other things, that Macbeth will become King. Spurred on by that prophecy and uncontent to just wait for it to come true, Macbeth and his wife (Marion Cotillard) hatch the plan to help things along when Duncan comes to visit. But murder comes with moral consequences – and it might not be the only thing necessary to make Macbeth King.

Macbeth unfortunately was an absolute disappointment. I don’t think I have ever seen a more monotous film, and that with Macbeth as your basis as well!

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Slow West (2015)

Slow West
Director: John Maclean
Writer: John Maclean
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPheeMichael FassbenderBen MendelsohnCaren PistoriusRory McCannKalani Queypo
Seen on: 11.8.2015

Plot:
Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is on a mission: he has to find the love of his life, Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius), who has found a new home in the Wild West. Jay is all alone, which is not without dangers. When Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender) stumbles upon him, he practically forces himself on Jay as a guide. Together they make the track West. But there seems to be more to the story than just simple romance and to Silas’ motivations than pure kindheartedness.

I’m not a huge fan of Westerns in general (though I do find myself starting to appreciate the genre), but quite apart from genre considerations, Slow West is a beautifully crafted, well executed film that I enjoyed a lot.

SlowWest

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Frank (2014)

Frank
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Writer: Jon RonsonPeter Straughan
Cast: Domhnall GleesonMichael FassbenderMaggie GyllenhaalScoot McNairyFrançois CivilCarla Azar
Part of: Viennale
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) dreams of becoming a musician. When he stumbles upon the idiosyncratic indie band Soronprfbs on the beach while their keyboardist tries to drown himself, he offers to step in for him that night. Band member/manager Don (Scoot McNairy) agrees after talking to Frank (Michael Fassbender), the band’s lead singer who always wears a big papier-maché head. It doesn’t take long and Jon is invited to join the band for good, despite band member Clara’s (Maggie Gyllenhaal) hesitation about him. But being part of the band isn’t at all what Jon expected.

From what I heard about the film before, I was afraid that it would be another hipster movie about oh-so-quirky people and an indie-soundtrack. But Frank might look like that but it is way, way more. I was really very taken by the film.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Sequel to: X-Men: First Class
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas HoultHugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Shawn AshmoreEllen PagePeter DinklageOmar SyEvan Peters, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, James Marsden

Plot:
Scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) created an adaptive superroboter to hunt and kill mutants that eradicated mutants almost entirely in just a few short years. The only way to stop their complete extinction is by stopping Trask building the robots in the first place. So Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) sends Logan (Hugh Jackman) back into the past to find Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) from stopping Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) to inadvertently set everything in motion. But neither Charles nor Erik are at a particularly good place in their lives and its up to Logan to make everything happen.

I really, really enjoyed X-Men: Days of Future Past (I even saw it twice in the cinema), even if I do have certain qualms about it. But the fun pretty much outweigs everything.

x-men_dofp[SPOILERS]

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12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave
Director: Steve McQueen
Writer: John Ridley
Based on: Solomon Northup‘s memoir
Cast: Chiwetel EjioforLupita Nyong’o, Quvenzhané Wallis, Kelsey Scott, Michael K. Williams, Scoot McNairy, Adepero Oduye, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Brad Pitt

Plot:
Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is one of the few free black people in the USA. Or rather he used to be until he took a job offer that turned into a kidnapping. Suddenly Solomon finds himself removed from his family, mistreated and enslaved. As he goes from owner to owner, he tries his best to not only survive, but be free again.

12 Years a Slave is one hell of a film. It has a great cast, is beautifully shot and has an awesome soundtrack. It’s also a film that hurts pretty much all over and will stay with me for a very long time.

12-years-a-slave

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The Counselor (2013)

The Counselor
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Cormac McCarthy
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Bruno Ganz, Brad Pitt, Toby Kebbell, Édgar Ramírez, Dean NorrisJohn Leguizamo, Natalie Dormer, Goran Visnjic

Plot:
The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is a lawyer who is about to marry his girlfriend Laura (Penélope Cruz). He is also somehow involved in the drug business through his client Reiner (Javier Bardem) and he’s about to get involved more deeply. And to no one’s surprise except his own, things go very wrong very quickly and it’s all somehow connected to Reiner’s enigmatic girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz).

There were many things I could see going wrong with this film, but what I did not anticipate was that it would be Cormac McCarthy’s writing where things go very wrong. But unfortunately that was the case and the result was a film that was pretty much unbearable.

the-counselor

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