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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London Has Fallen (2016)

London Has Fallen
Director: Babak Najafi
Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John
Sequel to: Olympus Has Fallen
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Radha Mitchell, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Alon Aboutboul
Seen on: 13.3.2016

Plot:
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is about to resign from his job in the Secret Service as the bodyguard of President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), despite the fact that he and Asher are very close indeed. But Mike’s wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) is expecting and he wants to take it more slowly when the kid arrives. Before that, though, news that the English Prime Minister died reaches Asher. It’s clear that like most of the world’s most prominent politicians, Asher will have to attend the funeral in London and Mike will come with him. But an event like that is the perfect place for an attack – which is just what happens, leaving Mike and Benjamin stranded in London, fighting for survival.

I really hadn’t planned on seeing this. I pretty much hated Olympus Has Fallen (much preferring White House Down) and so putting myself through the sequel seemed like a non-starter. But then puzzledpeaces made puppy eyes at me and I found myself packing a whole lot of alcohol and resigning myself to my fate. It turns out that London Has Fallen is not necessarily a better film than Olympus Has Fallen, but it is more entertaining. Do take that as the very faint praise it is, though.

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Lucy (2014)

Lucy
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked, Julian Rhind-Tutt

Plot:
Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is a student in Taiwan who gets mixed up in a drug deal. Suddenly she finds herself with a plastic bag full of a new drug stitched into her stomach and supposed to deliver it to Europe. But she never arrives there. Instead the bag ruptures and Lucy absorbs the drug which activates untold capacities in her brain. When Lucy has control of herself again, she needs to figure out what to do with her newfound powers.

This film is an absolute mess. Even if you don’t take into account that it’s basic premise is already wrong, it doesn’t make sense at all, there’s some amazingly casual racism, and above all it is so stupid that it probably diminishes your brain function considerably as you watch it.

Lucy

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Transcendence (2014)

Transcendence
Director: Wally Pfister
Writer: Jack Paglen
Cast: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Cole Hauser, Clifton Collins Jr., Morgan Freeman

Plot:
Will (Johnny Depp) and Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) are computer scientists working on A.I.s. When Will gets very sick, Evelyn enlists the help of Max (Paul Bettany) to try and scan Will’s brain activity and upload it and with it him to their system to try and save his life that way. Against all odds, the experiment is a success but Will doesn’t seem to be quite himself anymore.

From the trailer I was pretty damn certain that Transcendence wouldn’t be the most positive film about technology out there. But I thought that at least it would be entertaining. But unfortunately it was boring. So boring I fell asleep for a bit during the showdown.

transcendence

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The Lego Movie (2014)

The Lego Movie
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writer: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Cast: Chris PrattElizabeth BanksMorgan FreemanLiam Neeson, Will ArnettNick Offerman, Alison BrieCobie Smulders, Jonah HillChanning Tatum, Will FerrellWill Forte, Charlie Day, Dave Franco, Jake Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal

Plot:
Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary lego worker, spending his days joyfully building things, though he is also a bit lonely. Everything changes though, when he sees Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), gets identified as the most extraordinary person and involved in the rebellion against Lord Business (Will Ferrell) whose main goal is to have everything in its place, chaos and with it diversity be damned.

The Lego Movie was a whole lot of fun, stitched together from references and meta jokes that nevertheless manage to form a coherent role with a rather surprising end, even if it sometimes runs a bit empty.
lego

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Re-Watch: Red (2010)

Red
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Based on: Warren Ellis‘ and Cully Hamner‘s comic
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Karl Urban, Julian McMahon, Richard Dreyfuss, James Remar
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) enjoys his retirement. Most notably, he enjoys his monthly calls to his represntative at his insurance company, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Shortly before he gets the courage to actually see her, though, his CIA-operative past catches up with him: a kill squad comes to his house and levels it pretty much completely. Frank survives, the assassins don’t but now Frank has to get Sarah to safety and then call on the help of his old squad – Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Ivan (Brian Cox). All the while he’s being hunted by CIA-agent William Cooper (Karl Urban).

Red still is one hell of an entertaining movie. I think I enjoyed it just as much as the first time round.

red

[SPOILERS]

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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.

now_you_see_me

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Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Olympus Has Fallen
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Finley Jacobsen, Dylan McDermott,
Rick Yune, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Ashley Judd

Plot:
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) was President Asher’s (Aaron Eckhart) first bodyguard and friend. Until he wasn’t able to safe the life of the First Lady (Ashley Judd). 18 months later he’s working a desk job even though he wants nothing more than to get back at the president’s side. Then the White House is attacked, the president is being held hostage in his own bunker and Mike finds himself in the middle of things, trying his best to save everyone.

I didn’t expect Olympus Has Fallen to be any good. @kathrintha and I went in with a bottle of alcohol and the distinct suspicion that it was going to be awful. We had no idea how awful though and when we ran out of (ready-made) Mojito half-way through, the movie became pretty much unbearable.

olympus_has_fallen

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Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writer: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt
Based on: Joseph Kosinski’s and Arvid Nelson‘s unpublished comic
Cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell

Plot:
Jack (Tom Cruise) and Vicka (Andrea Riseborough) are the only people left on earth. Everybody else has left after aliens attacked the earth and the only way to get rid of them were nuclear bombs. Now Jack and Vicka are tasked with drone repair, while the last of the water is sucked up to be transported to the human colony. But there are still some aliens on earth that keep attacking. Bit by bit though, Jack starts questioning what’s going on.

Oblivion stole most of its parts from famous SciFi movies and jumbles them together in absolutely meaningless and idiotic ways. It could have succeeded in being an homage, if it had been able to become more than just a string of scenes and plot points we already saw somewhere else. But unfortunately it just isn’t clever enough for that.

Oblivion

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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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