The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni
Cast: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Joana Ribeiro, Jordi Mollà, Olga Kurylenko, Stellan Skarsgård, Jason Watkins, Paloma Bloyd, Óscar Jaenada, Will Keen
Seen on: 5.10.2018
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Plot:
Toby (Adam Driver) is a director who is trying to shoot Don Quixote in the Spanish countryside. He actually attempted this before when he was a film student – and when he stumbles upon a copy of the film he made back then. He is inspired to track down the two key actors of the film, the shoemaker who played Don Quixote (Jonathan Pryce) as well as his Dulcinea, played by Angelica (Joana Ribeiro). But when he discovers that the shoemaker is still convinced that he really is Don Quixote and that Toby is Sancho Panza, Toby is roped into quite an adventure.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was 25 years in the making and Gilliam fought hard to have it made. Having seen it now, I wonder whether it was worth the fight. It has its moments, but those really aren’t enough to make the film work.

The film poster showing a giant hand on which a couple of figures are standing in front of a windmill. Above it is a collage of the main characters of the film.
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The Death of Stalin (2017)

The Death of Stalin
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writer: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows
Based on: Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin’s graphic novel La Mort de Staline
Cast: Adrian McLoughlin, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Brooke, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Andrea Riseborough
Seen on: 11.4.2018

Plot:
1953 in Moscow. Josef Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) has been in power for decades. But now he suddenly dies, leaving a power vacuum that demands to be filled. His right hand men, the Council of Ministers, try to strike the balance between appearing to grieve, not panicking and grabbing for power. Lavrentia Beria (Simon Russell Beale) and Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) quickly become the heads of the biggest two camps in that fight.

I wanted to like The Death of Stalin more than I actually did. It’s well made, of that there’s no doubt, but I was partly very uncomfortable about the jokes they cracked that I felt made light of things nobdy should make light of.

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A Perfect Day (2015)

A Perfect Day
Director: Fernando León de Aranoa
Writer: Fernando León de Aranoa, Diego Farias
Based on: Paula Farias’ novel Dejarse llover
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko, Mélanie Thierry, Fedja Stukan, Eldar Residovic
Seen on: 17.11.2015

Plot:
Mambrú (Benicio Del Toro) and B (Tim Robbins) are aid workers who have been in the Balkans for a while now, assisted by their translator Damir (Fedja Stukan). Sophie (Mélanie Thierry) recently joined them, but hasn’t been doing things for long. Their job is to give humanitarian aid in a region still very much riddled by war. On this particular day this means trying to get a dead body out of a well. But that proves to be difficult, and it’s not made easier by the fact that Mambrú has to pick up an evaluator who turns out to be his ex Katya (Olga Kurylenko).

A Perfect Day manages to balance a realistic depiction of aid work in a war-torn country with a strong sense of humor. I didn’t expect it to unfold the way it did, but I enjoyed it immensely.

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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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Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Seven Psychopaths
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Linda Bright Clay, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Pitt, Harry Dean Stanton, Kevin Corrigan, Zeljko Ivanek, Gabourey Sidibe

Plot:
Marty (Colin Farrell) is trying to write a screenplay. He has a title – Seven Psychopaths – and a rough idea for a first psychopath. But apart from a drinking problem, he doesn’t have much else. His best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) tries to help, but is mostly caught up with the dognapping business he runs with Hans (Christopher Walken). But when Marty’s girlfriend Kaya (Abbie Cornish) kicks him out and Billy naps the beloved Shi-Tzu of the crazy Charlie (Woody Harrelson), everything unravels pretty quickly.

The marketing for this film is completely off. And when I say completely off, they decided to take away the movie’s selling point to make it look like a pretty standard action comedy. But it’s not – instead it’s an exercise in meta – and I loved it.

seven_psychopaths

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Re-Watch: Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace
Director: Marc Forster
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
Based on: Ian Fleming‘s James Bond novels
Sequel to: Casino Royale
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Gemma Arterton, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Jesper Christensen, David Harbour, Rory Kinnear, [and for about 5 seconds Stana Katic]
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Set directly after the events in Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is out for revenge and to understand exactly what happened with Vesper. To that end he kidnaps Mr White (Jesper Christensen) and he and M (Judi Dench) interrogate him. But before White can reveal much more than that he is working for a mysterious organisation, things go south. In the end Bond is left only with one lead that brings him to seemingly squeaky-clean environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). But things are far from being clean.

Watching Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace back to back just makes one thing even clearer: Quantum of Solace really and definitely and fully sucks.

[SPOILERS]

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