Cry Freedom (1987)

Cry Freedom
Director: Richard Attenborough
Writer: John Briley
Based on: the autobiographical books by Donald Woods
Cast: Kevin KlineDenzel WashingtonPenelope WiltonKevin McNallyJohn ThawJosette SimonJohn MatshikizaTimothy WestJohn HargreavesZakes Mokae
Seen on: 10.4.2017

Plot:
Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) is a journalist in South Africa. He’s part of the white establishment, but despite his own critical views of the black population’s struggles for equality and freedom, he is professional enough to listen what they have to say. When he meets Steve Biko (Denzel Washington) in person, he is finally convinced of the worthiness of their cause. After Biko is killed in police custody, Woods writes a book about him that brings a lot of trouble to himself and his family.

Cry Freedom is a film about an important and fascinating issue with a great cast that, unfortunately, chose the wrong perspective to tell its story. It could have been so much more if it had actually been about Biko and his activism, and not Biko’s effect on a white man.

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The BFG (2016)

The BFG
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Melissa Mathison
Based on: Roald Dahl’s novel
Cast: Ruby BarnhillMark RylancePenelope WiltonJemaine ClementRebecca HallRafe SpallBill Hader
Seen on: 26.7.2016

Plot:
Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) lives in an orphanage that isn’t exactly the best place. One night Sophie watches as a huge person in a cloak runs through the city of London. And then that person sees her watching and simply grabs her. Soon, Sophie finds herself in the country of giants, the mysterious cloakwearer turning out to be a giant himself. Fortunately for Sophie, he’s the smallest and only friendly giant which is why she calls him the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). But when Sophie hears what the other giants are up to every night, she knows that she has to do something.

The BFG is in many things a very nice adaptation of the book, although it does lack a bit of the novel’s magic. Nevertheless I enjoyed it a lot.

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Director: John Madden
Writer: Ol Parker
Sequel to: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Cast: Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Penelope WiltonDiana Hardcastle, Dev Patel, Tena DesaeLillete DubeyVikram Singh, David Strathairn, Tamsin Greig, Richard Gere
Seen on: 9.4.2015

Plot:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is doing well with its permanent senior residents. So well, in fact, that Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) decide that they want to expand. But for that to work, they need an investor. They travel to the USA to talk to Ty Burley (David Strathairn), CEO of a chain of retirement homes there. Burley announces that he will send somebody to check out the hotel and make his decision based on that. But that’s not the only thing going on in the hotel: Sonny is getting married to Sunaina (Tina Desai), his mother (Lillete Dubey) keeps butting in – or at least that’s what Sonny feels. Two new guests arrive (Richard Gere, Tamsin Greig) and the old ones (Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle) all have their own issues to deal with.

Much like the first film, the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was mostly fluff. It was funny, sweet and rather enjoyable, if you don’t expect too much of it and just want to see great actors in an entertaining film.

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Belle (2013)

Belle
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Misan Sagay
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sam Reid, Tom Wilkinson, Emily WatsonPenelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, James Norton, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode

Plot:
18th century Britain. John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) had a relationship with a black woman which resulted in a daughter. He decides to accept Belle as his own despite being a nobleman and she being black and brings her to his aunt and uncle, Lady (Emily Watson) and Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) while he himself has to go back to sea. Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) grows up as a noblewoman together with her cousin Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon). But in a country where slavery is still going strong, Belle will never be a fully accepted member of society.

Belle was a wonderful film: sweet, romantic, political, feminist, outspoken and beautiful. It became my favorite Jane Austen movie without actual Jane Austen involvment straight away.

belle

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Re-Watch: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick FrostKate AshfieldLucy Davis, Dylan MoranPenelope Wilton, Peter Serafinowicz, Rafe Spall, Bill Nighy, Jessica Hynes, Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, Matt Lucas, Chris Martin, Rob Brydon, Joe Cornish, Mark Gatiss, Michael Smiley, David Walliams, Julia Deakin, Reece Shearsmith
Part of: The Cornetto Trilogy

Plot:
Shaun (Simon Pegg) spends his life between his dead-end job, his best friend Ed (Nick Frost) and his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield). Liz is frustrated with his complacency. But things get severely shaken up when there’s a zombie outbreak. As soon as Shaun realizes, he tries everything to save the ones he loves.

Shaun of the Dead is not only one of the best zombie movies I’ve ever seen, it’s just one of the best movies ever, period. And this re-watch proved it to me again.

shaunofthedead

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Director: John Madden
Writer: Ol Parker
Based on: Deborah Moggach‘s novel These Foolish Things
Cast: Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Dev Patel, Tena Desae

Plot:
7 British retirees travel to India where they take up residence in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A hotel they wrongly believe to be freshly restored. Instead they find a crumbling building run by the overwhelmed Sonny (Dev Patel). And generally India brings them nothing they expected. Evelyn (Judi Dench) ends up taking the first job of her life. Graham (Tom Wilkinson) is looking for someone from his past. Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) are just looking for a connection. Muriel (Maggie Smith) just wants a new hip, even if she has to take it from a brown doctor. While Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Jean (Penelope Wilton) really just can’t afford anything else. But even though all of them might not get what they deserve, they might just get what they need.*

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is fluff. Fluff with a great cast and a nice atmosphere and a whole lot of cultural stereotypes. But it’s entertaining.

*Apologies, Batman.

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