L.A. Story (1991)


L.A. Story
Director: Mick Jackson
Writer: Steve Martin
Cast: Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Richard E. Grant, Marilu Henner, Susan Forristal, Kevin Pollak, Sam McMurray, Patrick Stewart
Seen on: 29.6.2021

Content Note: misogyny

Plot:
Harris (Steve Martin) is the wacky weekend weatherman for a local L.A. TV station. He is dating Trudi (Marilu Henner), but he is not particularly happy. When he meets Sara (Victoria Tennant) at a brunch party through their mutual friend Roland (Richard E. Grant), Harris is instantly smitten. But not so smitten that he doesn’t also find saleswoman SanDeE* (Sarah Jessica Parker) very attractive. After a magical incident where an electronic billboard starts to give Harris advice, he has to decide between the women in his life.

L.A. Story is a whimsical film, more interested in a ribbing love letter to L.A. itself rather than the characters in it. There are some nice laughs here, but also some stuff that hasn’t aged particularly well. I suspect that people who have a direct connection to L.A. will be particularly fond of it.

The film poster showing the silhouette of a person doing a handstand on a railing in front of a sunset over the ocean.
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No Man’s Land

No Man’s Land
Director: Sean Mathias, Robin Lough
Writer: Harold Pinter
Cast: Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Owen Teale, Damien Molony
Seen on: 26.6.2021

Plot:
Hirst (Patrick Stewart) brings home Spooner (Ian McKellen) for a drink after just meeting in a pub. Spooner seems to have seen better days, while Hirst is obviously well-off. As Spooner talks, it appears that the encounter may not have been entirely by chance, Spooner seems to know more about Hirst. His behaviour certainly draws the suspicions of Foster (Damien Molony) and Briggs (Owen Teale) – apparently part of Hirst’s household – who question Spooner after Hirst leaves the room. But nobody really figures out what is going on here, at least not a first.

No Man’s Land is well-acted and I liked the stage design, but I could not handle this play. It’s really not my thing, to put it mildly.

The poster for the production, showing Spooner (Ian McKellen) and Hirst (Patrick Stewart) standing next to each other in suits, with serious expressions.
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Charlie’s Angels (2019)

Charlie’s Angels
Driector: Elizabeth Banks
Writer: Elizabeth Banks
Based on: the TV show
Sequel to (kinda): Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angles: Full Throttle
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Jonathan Tucker, Nat Faxon, Chris Pang, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Noah Centineo
Seen on: 15.1.2020

Plot:
Elena (Naomi Scott) is an engineer at a technology company and they are about to launch a product that will revolutionize the way the world works. Elena is worried that there is a terrible security flaw in the product, but nobody wants to hear about it. So she contacts the Angels, hoping to keep the worst from happening. Sabina (Kristen Stewart) and Jane (Ella Balinska) are assigned to her case by Bosley (Elizabeth Banks). What should be a routine mission becomes much bigger than they expected, though.

I honestly don’t understand why Charlie’s Angels tanked as much as it did*. I found it to be a refreshing, fun action comedy with great performances and a nice (basic) feminist message.

*I have an idea though and that idea can be summed up with “male critics”.

The film poster showing the main characters of the film, above all the angels.
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The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

The Kid Who Would Be King
Director: Joe Cornish
Writer: Joe Cornish
Cast: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Noma Dumezweni, Rebecca Ferguson, Mark Bonnar, Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart
Seen on: 24.4.2019
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Plot:
When Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) steps in when his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) is being bullied, the two bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris) don’t take too kindly to it. That night, they chase Alex on his way home, but Alex hides in a construction site where he finds a sword embedded in the stone. He pulls it out – and realizes that it is actually Excalibur. Along with Excalibut comes Merlin (Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart) and a threat in the form of Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson). It is up to Alex and his friends to stop her.

I have rarely seen a film get a cinematic release that was talked about so little as The Kid Who Would Be King. And I honestly don’t get it. It is a cute family film, it has famous people and it is very entertaining. By rights, it should have been easy to advertise and easier still to be a success. So, take it from me and have fun with this one!

The film poster showing Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) in armor, with a big sword strapped to his back.
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Logan (2017)

Logan
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Based on: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven‘s comic series Old Man Logan, which is in turn based on the character Wolverine created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, John Romita Sr. and the Marvel Comics X-Men series
Sequel to: the X-Men movies
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Quincy Fouse
Seen on: 8.3.2017

Plot:
Mutants have been practically eradicated. There are only a few left – those who manage to hide very well. One of them is Logan (Hugh Jackman), whose age is starting to show in the decreased tempo of his healing. He takes care of Xavier (Patrick Stewart), whose age is in turn showing in the dementia he developed. They are constantly at risk of being discovered. When Logan is asked to drive the young Laura (Dafne Keen) to Canada, he smells trouble and tries to refuse. But Laura won’t let herself be refused. She is like Logan in many ways and definitely a mutant. And she is pursued by an organization that means her harm. Laura forces Logan to face the world and his place in it.

Logan is probably the most emotionally mature superhero film, at least of recent years. Nevertheless, I’m not quite as taken with it as many other people were.

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Green Room (2015)

Green Room
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, Callum TurnerImogen Poots, David W. Thompson, Mark WebberMacon BlairEric Edelstein, Patrick Stewart
Seen on: 5.6.2016

Plot:
Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole), and Tiger (Callum Turner) are the punk band The Ain’t Rights. They are currently touring, desperate for any gig they can book that will actually pay. They accept an offer to play at a place they know nothing about and are taken aback when they find out that it’s actually a neo-nazi club. But since they can’t afford to decline, they decide to power through. Unfortunately when they’re done, they walk in on a murder and suddenly their situation turns very bad indeed.

Green Room has been getting pretty amazing buzz and great reviews. I have to admit, I can’t entirely follow the hype surrounding the film. It’s a strong film, no doubt about it, but it did not blow me away.

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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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Re-Watch: X2 (2003)

X2
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: David Hayter, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Sequel to: X-Men
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Bruce Davison, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Kelly Hu

Plot:
The Mutant Registration Act is still a very distinct possibility and threatens the mutants’ existence. And then a new mutant – Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) – attempts to kill the president and almost succeeds, adding further fuel to the debate. The retired Colonel Stryker (Brian Cox) is leading among the people against mutants and uses the assassination attempt as an excuse to attack Professor X’s (Patrick Stewart) school with knowledge he gained from drugging Magneto (Ian McKellen).

X2 is the rare case where the sequel is actually better than the first film (even though the first film wasn’t bad). It’s enjoyable as hell.

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Re-Watch: X-Men (2000)

X-Men
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: David Hayter
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park, Tyler Mane, Bruce Davison, Shawn Ashmore

Plot:
The world is changing and so are humans. Ever so slowly “mutants” are emerging – humans one step further in the evolution of things who have special powers. Marie (Anna Paquin) is one of them. When her power kicks in, she runs away from home and quite accidentally meets Logan (Hugh Jackman), another mutant. Together they end up at Professor Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) school for mutants and get caught in the war that is brewing between Xavier, his old friend Eric (Ian McKellen) and the humans.

It’s been ages that I saw the film and I have to say that it holds its own quite well, even after all this time. Yeah, it has the occasional headdesk-worthy dialogue, but it’s fun, has a good cast and treats its premise with respect. Very enjoyable.

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