Re-Watch: The Truman Show (1998)

The Truman Show
Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Ed Harris, Paul Giamatti
Seen on: 8.3.2016

Plot:
Truman (Jim Carrey) is living an absolutely ordinary life as an insurance salesman in a small town. His wife Meryl (Laura Linney) is a nurse and they are reasonably happy together and may have children soon. So far, so good. What Truman doesn’t know is that Meryl’s name is actually Hannah Gill. She’s an actress and he is the star of a reality TV show that has been chronicling his life since birth. Everything around him is TV – everything but Truman. Bit by bit, though, things are falling apart and Truman is starting to doubt.

It’s been years, probably a decade, that I saw The Truman Show and while the technology has changed a lot in that time, the film is still remarkably current. Plus, it is simply a good film.

thetrumanshow[SPOILERS follow]

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The Little Prince (2015)

The Little Prince
Director: Mark Osborne
Writer: Irena Brignull, Bob Persichetti
Based on: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s novella
Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Bud Cort, Paul Giamatti, Albert Brooks, Riley Osborne
Seen on: 28.12.2015

Plot:
The Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) moves into a new neigborhood with her Mother (Rachel McAdams). Her Mother is a hard worker and she has big plans for the Girl, plans that need her to work  very hard to achieve them. The Girl is motivated. But there’s also her strange neighbor, the Aviator (Jeff Bridges). The Aviator tells her the story of The Little Prince (Riley Osborne) whom he met many years ago. Bit by bit, the Aviator and his stories become more important to the Girl than her Mother’s plans.

The Little Prince is not so much an adaptation of the original novella as an extension and an expansion of it (you could say that it’s fan fiction). It’s a beautifully crafted film that harnesses the original message and reinforces the capitalism critique in it. I loved it.

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Love & Mercy (2014)

Love & Mercy
Director: Bill Pohlad
Writer: Oren Moverman, Michael A. Lerner
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, John Cusack, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Jake Abel, Kenny Wormald, Dee Wallace, Joanna Going, Brett Davern, Erin Darke, Graham Rogers
Seen on: 21.6.2015

Plot:
Melinda (Elizabeth Banks) works as car saleswoman and one day, a guy (John Cusack) strolls into her shop, interested to buy. Turns out, he is Brian Wilson, formerly of The Beach Boys. Brian seems a little off and is accompanied by two bodyguards and a doctor – Eugene (Paul Giamatti). Nevertheless he manages to pass on a message, a cry for help, to Melinda. Even when he was young, Brian (Paul Dano) has had mental health issues, but now he seems completely under Eugene’s control – and apparently not doing very well.

Love & Mercy has an interesting structure and a cast that absolutely shines. I was completely immersed in the story. Yet it is also interesting to think about what has been left out of the story.

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San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas
Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Carlton Cuse
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Paul Giamatti, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson, Will Yun Lee, Kylie Minogue, Colton Haynes
Seen on: 29.5.2015

Plot:
Ray (Dwayne Johnson) is a rescue helicopter pilot, a father and most recently a divorcee. His ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino) and their daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) just moved in with Emma’s new boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffud) and anyway, Blake is about to move to college. But when the biggest earthquake in recent history hits the west coast, it becomes Ray’s only mission to save his family against all odds, even if said family is much less helpless than one might think.

[SPOILERS, at least if you can’t guess the plot from other movies of the same ilk]

On the surface San Andreas is pretty standard fare: as the world falls apart, the heroic dad saves his family and thus wins back his ex-wife (whose new boyfriend is an idiot anyway). And I wouldn’t blame anybody if they decided to leave it at that, throw their hands up in exasperation and maybe avoid the film altogether. But personally I thought that there was a little more to the film than appeared at first. Also, the special effects were really cool.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner
Based on: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s comic
Sequel to: The Amazing Spider-Man
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Jamie FoxxDane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Paul Giamatti, Marton Csokas, B.J. Novak, Sarah Gadon

Plot:
Peter (Andrew Garfield) enjoys his life, just having graduated from high school and dating the girl of his dreams, Gwen (Emma Stone). Oh, and of course fighting crime as Spider-Man. But the question of why his parents abandoned him still haunts Peter and his investigation only makes things more confusing. Plus, there is something going on at Oscorp that seems directly related.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an extremely entertaining, funny film – but one that does have some major flaws. That makes the film a weird mixture of enjoyable and disappointing, though I’m leaning more towards enjoyable.

The-Amazing-Spider-Man-2[SPOILERS]

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Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Saving Mr. Banks
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writer: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith
Cast: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley, Colin FarrellRuth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman, Kathy Baker, Rachel Griffiths

Plot:
Despite her trepidations about it, P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) agrees to work on a screen version of her Mary Poppins novel for Walt Disney (Tom Hanks). She just really needs the money. But Mary Poppins is more to her than just a fictional character and she wants to make certain that Disney does justice to that. So she flies to L.A. to try and ensure that, while at the same time working through her own family history.

There are many things to enjoy about Saving Mr. Banks and some things that I didn’t enjoy very much. But it’s certainly a film that I liked watching.

Saving_Mr._Banks

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12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave
Director: Steve McQueen
Writer: John Ridley
Based on: Solomon Northup‘s memoir
Cast: Chiwetel EjioforLupita Nyong’o, Quvenzhané Wallis, Kelsey Scott, Michael K. Williams, Scoot McNairy, Adepero Oduye, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Brad Pitt

Plot:
Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is one of the few free black people in the USA. Or rather he used to be until he took a job offer that turned into a kidnapping. Suddenly Solomon finds himself removed from his family, mistreated and enslaved. As he goes from owner to owner, he tries his best to not only survive, but be free again.

12 Years a Slave is one hell of a film. It has a great cast, is beautifully shot and has an awesome soundtrack. It’s also a film that hurts pretty much all over and will stay with me for a very long time.

12-years-a-slave

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The Congress (2013)

The Congress
Director: Ari Folman
Writer: Ari Folman
Based on: Stanislaw Lem‘s novel The Futurological Congress
Cast: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston, Sami Gayle, Michael Stahl-David, Michael Landes, Sarah Shahi

Plot:
Robin Wright (Robin Wright) is an actress past her prime who lives with her two children Aaron (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Sarah (Sami Gayle) near an airport. Her agent Al (Harvey Keitel) does his best for her, but he has seen better times, too. So when Robin gets the chance to get on the next technological step and scan herself entirely so that a CGI version of herself will do all her acting for her, she takes it despite her trepidations. But technology doesn’t end there.

This movie is a mess. And not a beautiful one either, but one that, after a great start, leaves you confused and bored.

the-congress

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Cosmopolis (2012)

Cosmopolis
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Based on: Don DeLillo‘s novel
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel, Kevin Durand, K’Naan, Emily Hampshire, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Philip Nozuka

Plot:
Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) is young and rich and drives through New York in his limousine trying to get a haircut. But since the president is visiting the city, traffic is pretty clogged up and this takes a lot longer than anticipated. Eric starts taking several meetings in his car but bit by bit his life is crumbling apart, as Eric purposefully loses money and sabotages himself.

Holy fucking shit, this movie is extremely bad. I thought that Cronenberg would outweigh Pattinson’s total lack of charisma, but unfortunately the script is a single excercise in what-the-fuckery that depends on said non-existant charisma and so the entire film is set up to fail.

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Rock of Ages (2012)

Rock of Ages
Director: Adam Shankman
Writer: Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo, Allan Loeb
Cast: Diego Boneta, Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston, Eli Roth

Plot:
Sherrie (Julianne Hough) just arrived in LA, dreaming of being a singer but instead she gets robbed straight away and somebody makes off with her record collection. Drew (Diego Boneta) who witnessed the incident manages to get Sherrie a job as a waitress at the living off its former glory Bourbon club where he works, too. The club is preparing for a huge concert by Stacie Jaxx (Tom Cruise) while Christian protesters lead by Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) try to shut down rock in general.

As long as the movie was camp, it was brilliantly funny. Unfortunately most of the time we’re stuck with the absolutely colorless and frankly just boring lead characters.

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