Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr.Sebastian Stan, Scarlett JohanssonAnthony Mackie, Don CheadleJeremy Renner, Chadwick BosemanPaul BettanyElizabeth OlsenPaul RuddEmily VanCampTom HollandDaniel BrühlFrank GrilloMartin FreemanWilliam Hurt, Marisa TomeiJohn KaniJohn SlatteryHope DavisAlfre WoodardStan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 1.5.2016

Plot:
After the recent events surrounding the Avengers, the UN feels it necessary to institute some kind of regulation for the action of superheroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who feels guilty about all the damage, destruction and death that happened on his watch and due to his decisions, thinks that’s a very good idea, while Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) fears that they will cease to be an effective task force, bogged down by bureaucracy, if they have to wait for approval by somebody else. And who’s to say that that somebody will make the right decisions and work for the right things? This disagreement causes a schism in the Avengers – a schism that only gets broader when Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is accused of planting a bomb in the UN meeting where the regulation is to be discussed and Steve wants to protect him at all cost.

I like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So far, the films were always entertaining, even if varying in quality. With Avengers: Age of Ultron, [or with Guardians of the Galaxy although that isn’t that closely connected] they started to stumble, though and those smaller missteps are starting to get more notable the longer the series goes on. Civil War proves that: while it was far from awful and delivered on many counts, I felt more unsatisfied with it than with most of the earlier MCU films.

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Legend (2015)

Legend
Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Based on: John Pearson‘s book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins
Cast: Tom Hardy, Christopher Eccleston, Emily BrowningTaron Egerton, Colin Morgan, David Thewlis, Chazz Palminteri, Duffy, Paul Bettany, Paul Anderson
Seen on: 21.1.2016

Plot:
Reggie (Tom Hardy) and Ronnie (Tom Hardy) Kray are notorious, at least in the East End of London. Officially night club owners, their main business isn’t so legal which brings them under the scrutiny of police officer Nipper Read (Christopher Eccleston) who has yet to find something big that sticks. When Reggie has to go to prison for a while,  Ronnie – who is not exactly mentally healthy – starts to get out of hand.

Legend tells a good story with a fantastic cast in a pretty clunky way. Tom Hardy is amazing though in both roles, so if all else fails, there is that.

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The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

The Secret Life of Bees
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Based on: Sue Monk Kidd‘s novel
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, Paul Bettany, Hilarie Burton, Tristan Wilds, Nate Parker
Seen on: 16.1.2016

Plot:
When Lily (Dakota Fanning) was a little child, she accidentally shot and killed her mother (Hilarie Burton) who was about to leave her and her father T-Ray (Paul Bettany). Now Lily is fourteen and stuck with her volatile, abusive father. Her only positive relationship is with housekeeper Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson). After Rosaleen is attacked for trying to register to vote while black, Lily decides to run away. She breaks Rosaleen out of the hospital and together they make their way to a place where Lily thinks her mother has spent some time before her death. This leads them to bee-keeping August (Queen Latifah) and her sisters May (Sophie Okonedo) and June (Alicia Keys) where they find refuge.

The Secret Life of Bees is an interesting mix of harsh and naive: it takes many hard realities of the 60s for (black) women and transforms them into a tale of sweet, dreamlike sisterhood. It’s a tale of what should have been possible, even given bad circumstances.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett JohanssonJames SpaderAaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth OlsenPaul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Linda Cardellini, Claudia Kim, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 26.04.2015

Plot:
The Avengers – that is Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – have become quite a team. In their most recent take-down of Hydra men, they managed to get back Loki’s scepter. Before Thor can take it back to his world, Tony and Bruce ask to analyze it and they discover a form of intelligence inside of the scepter. They decide to use it to try and create an AI as a defense program. They succeed and said program – Ultron (James Spader) – comes to life. Unfortunately he has his own vision of what a safe world looks like and the Avengers have to face Tony’s and Bruce’ creation.

I really loved the last Avengers movie, and this sequel has many of the same strengths. Unfortunately it also has a lot more problems than the first one, especially when it comes to plot and character development. Nevertheless I really enjoyed myself.

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Mortdecai (2015)

Mortdecai
Director: David Koepp
Writer: Eric Aronson
Based on: Kyril Bonfiglioli‘s books
Cast: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum
Seen on: 01.02.2015

Plot:
Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is an art dealer not entirely against shady dealings, at least as long as he’s protected by his man servant Jock (Paul Bettany). Recently, Charlie and his wife Joanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) have fallen into debt, so when MI5 agent Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor) asks Charlie for help with a case, Charlie accepts in the hope of making some money and despite the fact that Alistair has been in love with Joanna for years and therefore has it out for Charlie himself. Quickly Charlie finds out that the case might not be as straightforward a murder and theft as it seems at first.

I saw Mortdecai right after The Imitation Game and before Mortdecai I would have thought that The Imitation Game would turn out to be the worst film of the night. I was wrong. I didn’t expect much from Mortdecai, but even those expectations were too high.

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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.

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Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3
Director: Shane Black
Writer: Drew Pearce, Shane Black
Based on: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby‘s comic
Sequel to: Iron Man, Iron Man 2 [here are all my Iron Man reviews]
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, William Sadler, Miguel Ferrer and [SPOILER] Mark Ruffalo
Part of: Marvel movies

Plot:
After the events in The Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is at least as shook up as his entire worldview. He tries to deal with things by tinkering around with his Iron Man suits but he doesn’t really get anywhere with it. In the meantime, a terrorist keeps setting off bombs and they aren’t close to finding him yet. In a bad mood, Tony challenges him and gives him his home address. And suddenly things get very personal indeed.

Iron Man 3 was very enjoyable and entertaining and far from being as dark as the trailer made it seem. I did have a couple of issues with it, but mostly it’s a wonderful continuation of the series.

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Re-Watch: Iron Man (2008) + Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man / Iron Man 2
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway / Justin Theroux
Based on: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby‘s comic
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard / Don Cheadle, Jeff Bridges, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, John Slattery, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau
Part of: Marvel movies
[Here are my other reviews.]

Plot:
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is the kind of guy Bruce Wayne always pretends to be: Rich, constantly drunk, an ass. Now take away the social consciousness of Bruce Wayne and add “manufactures weapons” and technical genius and you know Tony Stark.
That changes pretty drastically when he’s abducted in Iraq and forced to build a rocket for a group of terrorists. Instead of building what they ask for, he builds a hightech suit of armour and makes himself a superhero on the way. But becoming a superhero doesn’t come without its costs.

I guess since it’s not the first time that I’m watching the films, nobody will be surprised when I say that I like them. And I really do.

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The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Alexis Denisof, Harry Dean Stanton, Enver Gjokaj
Part of: Marvel movies

Plot:
Under the watchful eye of Director Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D., scientist Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) is working on the Tesseract, a source of practically unlimited power. But Loki (Tom Hiddleston), crazed and bitter, has organized an alien army to take over the earth in exchange for the Tesseract. He breaks into S.H.I.E.L.D. and steals the Tesseract, brainwashing Selvig and Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in the process. Fury finds himself scrambling for something to hold against Loki and so he assembles a team made up of Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner aka the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth).

The Avengers is absolutely freaking and completely awesome. Joss Whedon knows how to handle his characters and especially the team dynamics and he does so here, too. Plus, it’s really, really funny. In short, be prepared for gushing.

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Margin Call (2011)

Margin Call
Director: J. C. Chandor
Writer: J. C. Chandor
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Simon Baker, Penn Badgley, Mary McDonnell
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Peter (Zachary Quinto) and Seth (Penn Badgley) are junior risk managers in a flagging investment bank. During a round of mass firings, their senior risk manager Eric (Stanley Tucci) is let go as well. Eric gives Peter a flash drive before he leaves and tells him to look at the things on there. Peter does and discovers a major crisis approaching. He tells his boss Will (Paul Bettany), who tells his boss Sam (Kevin Spacey) and soon the entire investment bank is struggling to get a handle on the situation.

The film had an interesting and different perspective. Add that cast to it and it has all the right ingredients to be brilliant. But somehow, it just doesn’t work out that way.

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