Plot: Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) has a gift: he’s a veterinarian who can talk to the animals directly. But every since his wife (Kasia Smutniak) was lost at sea, he hasn’t worked anymore. This changes quickly, when he gets two visitors in a day: the first one is Tommy (Harry Collett) who brings in a hurt squirrel, and the second is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who brings the news that the Queen (Jessie Buckley) may well be dying if Dolittle doesn’t help – and that would mean that he’d lose his entire estate. Forced from his isolation, Dolittle takes on the case – and Tommy makes sure to be part of it.
Dolittle has potential – Downey Jr. surrounded by animals voiced by a whole lot of excellent people? What can go wrong? A lot, apparently. Maybe this film should serve as a case study for that.
Plot: It’s New Year’s Eve and Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) has a full day ahead of him. He lives with his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz) and their daughter and he hasn’t been exactly honest with her, but he wants to do better. He also wants to try and find a new job before she finds out that he lost his old one. And it’s his mom’s (Octavia Spencer) birthday to boot. But by the end of the day, all of his plans will come to a screeching halt and Oscar will be dead, shot by the police.
Given that Fruitvale Station is based on a true story, I was aware that this film wouldn’t be exactly easy. Even though I was braced for that, it still hit me hard. It’s just really, really good.
Plot: Elisa (Sally Hawkins) works as a cleaning lady in a big research facility. That facility has recently become the home, or rather prison, of a mysterious sea creature (Doug Jones) that the scientists want to study and exploit. Elisa discovers the creature by chance, but she quickly becomes friends with him, teaching him sign language. But the facility, and above all Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon) have plans for the creature – and they are not necessarily humane.
I liked The Shape of Water in many things, but I found its treatment of disability absolutely problematic – and that soured things considerably for me. I still ended up finding it mostly sweet, but it should have been better about that.
Frank (Chris Evans) raises his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace). Mary is very smart. So far, Frank was able to keep her talents under wrap, but now it’s time for her to start school. And immediately Mary’s math abilities are noticed by her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate). But Frank doesn’t want to place Mary in special classes. His refusal causes both Bonnie and the school to dig deeper, bringing Frank’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) who has very different ideas about how to raise Mary. As neither Frank nor Evelyn want to budge from their position, they take the question to court in a custody battle.
Gifted is very surprisingly a smart film about being smart. I did have a couple of issues with it, but they are not related to that. And mostly the film was engaging and emotional and went right for the feels in just the right way.
NASA is working hard to send their first man into space – and especially to bring him back again. But they haven’t yet cracked the orbit needed for that. Working as computers, the black women Katherine Goble (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) are far removed from the action, both figuratively and literally. But when the Soviets make quick advances and pressure rises, Katherine’s mathematic skills bring her right into the heart of the team. But racism isn’t all that easily overcome by maths.
Hidden Figures was entertaining, charming and incredibly enjoyable. It was almost too smooth – I was missing a bit of anger. But that’s only a teeny tiny complaint about a film I very much loved.
Jake Davis (Russell Crowe) is an award-winning writer with a lovely daughter, Katie (Kylie Rogers). But after his wife dies, he falls apart. While he tries to get better in a psychiatric facility, Katie goes to live with her aunt Elizabeth (Diane Kruger) and uncle William (Bruce Greenwood). Even after Jake returns, things are far from easy.
Many years later, Katie (Amanda Seyfried) works as a counselor for kids like Lucy (Quvenzhané Wallis), even though she obviously has many issues of her own. When she meets Cameron (Aaron Paul), those issues might destroy everything.
I had little to no expectations regarding Fathers & Daughters, but I was still taken aback by it. It is perfectly obvious why this move tanked as much as it did. It probably should have tanked more.
Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) has always dreamed of becoming a police officer. And although there has never been a bunny police officer before, she fights her way through the academy and into active duty in the capital – only to be relegated to doling out parking tickets. But even then she promptly finds con man Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), although she can’t actually arrest him. But when carnivores start going crazy and threaten the peace of Zootropolis, Judy realize that there are bigger fish to fry – and that she needs Nick’s help to catch them.
Zootopia is a sweet, funny, entertaining film that might not be quite as progressive as it thinks it is. But that’s debatable and it certainly is very good to watch.
The Erudite have attacked Abnegation and Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Marcus (Ray Stevenson), Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter (Miles teller) are heading to Amity for a safe place to stay. But Erudite’s attack is just the beginning of an upheaval in their society in which the Divergent have a huge part to play. But Tris doesn’t know what exactly is going on. She just knows that Jeanine (Kate Winslet) won’t stop hunting her.
After Divergent I actually thought I’d skip Insurgent but then I was weak and went to see it after all. And it was actually worse than Divergent.
The world is frozen in its entirety. The only people left are hurtling through it on a high-speed train. On the train there is a strict class hierarchy – in the front, the rich people live. In the back the poor live in squalor. One of the poor people is Curtis (Chris Evans) who quietly organizes a rebellion with the help of Edgar (Jamie Bell) and Gilliam (John Hurt). But getting to the front of the train might be the least of their problems.
Snowpiercer was an exciting film. Tense, with a weird sense of humor and great action scenes. It did not have the most innovative of plots, but with an awesome setting and beautiful cinematography it more than makes up for that.
After his success with Zeus’ lightning bolt Percy (Logan Lerman) has yet to have another big success, much to his chagrin and Clarisse’ (Leven Rambin) enjoyment. But then things get quickly out of whack: Percy’s half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), a cyclops, shows up. Camp Half-Blood is attacked by the not-dead-after-all Luke (Jake Abel) and its magical barrier starts failing. It’s Clarisse who gets tasked with finding the Golden Fleece to save the camp, but fueled by a prophecy Percy, Tyson, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) go on the same quest.
Sea of Monsters, much like the first film, was pretty nice the most time, but also ultimately not great or awesome. There is nothing really wrong with it and it did have a great supporting cast, but I didn’t connect with it all that much.