The Batman (2022)

The Batman
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Matt Reeves, Peter Craig
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, Paul Dano, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, Peter Sarsgaard, Barry Keoghan, Jayme Lawson, Gil Perez-Abraham
Seen on: 9.3.2022
[Here are my reviews of other Batman things.]

Plot:
For the past two years, Batman (Robert Pattinson) has been a vigilante in Gotham City, one who divides opinions. On Halloween, he is called to a crime scene be Lieutenant Gordon (Jeffrey Wright): the mayor was brutally murdered, and a riddle was left for Batman. When he takes up the trail, it leads him to a nightclub run by Oz (Colin Farrell) with ties to Carmine Falcone (John Turturro). And it leads him to Selina (Zoë Kravitz) who works as a waitress there and has her own investigation. As more people are murdered and more clues left, it becomes a race against time.

I really did not expect much of The Batman. Everything about it screamed that it would not be a good experience. But it is a Batman film, so I couldn’t resist. Anyhow, turns out that I was mistaken: The Batman is even worse than I thought it would be.

The film poster showing The Batman (Robert Pattinson) standing in a fog of red lighting.
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The Guilty (2021)

The Guilty
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto
Remake of: Den skyldige
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riley Keough, Peter Sarsgaard, Christina Vidal, Eli Goree, Ethan Hawke
Seen on: 21.12.2021

Plot:
Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a police officer. Due to some disciplinary issues, he has to man the 911 dispatch desk for a while. But he has finally come to his last shift before he can return to his actual job. Or at least that’s what he hopes – the decision should be coming in, and he hopes to be going out. When he receives a call from a kidnapped woman (Riley Keough) he quickly becomes very involved in the case, though.

The Guilty is practically a locked room drama with almost only one visible actor, the rest coming in over the phone. It demands a lot of Gyllenhaal, but he is absolutely up for the task. The film has some interesting things to say about police work and masculinity, but is still not radical enough for my taste.

The film poster showing Joe Baylor's (Jake Gyllenhaal) face made from letters, with the words "Listen" and "Carefully" emphasized.
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Lovelace (2013)

Lovelace
Director: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Writer: Andy Bellin
Based on: Linda Lovelace‘s autobiographies
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick, Juno Temple, Chris Noth, Bobby Cannavale, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Chloë Sevigny, James Franco, Debi Mazar, Wes Bentley, Eric Roberts,
Seen on: 20.4.2020

Content Note: abuse, domestic violence, rape

Plot:
Linda (Amanda Seyfried) lives with her parents (Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick) who are very strict. But that doesn’t mean that she can’t go partying with her friend Patsy (Juno Temple). At one of those parties, Linda meets the charming Chuck (Peter Sarsgaard). When her parents try to curb the relationship, Linda just moves in with Chuck. They get married, they appear happy, but Chuck is abusive. As he struggles with money, he pushes Linda to make porn. Her film, Deep Throat, is a huge success and bit by bit, Linda manages to get away from Chuck.

Lovelace tells a heavy story, and they manage not to fall (too much) into anti-porn rhetoric, despite the topic, but at its core it’s a film that never manages to see Linda as anything else but a victim.

The film poster showing Linda Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried) apparently naked, looking at the camera, her armes folded in front of her chest.
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Jackie (2016)

Jackie
Director: Pablo Larraín
Writer: Noah Oppenheim
Cast: Natalie PortmanPeter SarsgaardGreta GerwigBilly CrudupJohn HurtRichard E. GrantCaspar PhillipsonJohn Carroll LynchBeth GrantDeborah FindlayCorey Johnson
Seen on: 31.1.2017

Plot:
A year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson), his widow Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) gives an interview to a journalist (Billy Crudup) about the difficult path she had to navigate in the time since. Weighed down by her own shock and grief, she still has to make sure she upholds the Kennedy’s reputation and her own husband’s legacy.

Despite a great cast and a great look, Jackie did not work for me. It continuously bored me and I just could not get into the story, the film or the characters.

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The Magnificent Seven (2016)

The Magnificent Seven
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto, Richard Wenk
Remake of: The Magnificent Seven
Based on: Shichinin no samurai
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, Matt Bomer, Cam Gigandet, Sean Bridgers
Seen on: 14.10.2016

Plot:
Rose Creek is slowly being squeezed dry by Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). When one of the citizens (Matt Bomer) refuses to cooperate with Bogue, he is shot. His widow Emma (Haley Bennett) decides to go and look for help, somebody to take on Bogue. By chance she finds Chisolm (Denzel Washington) and becomes a witness to his skills as a gunman. She begs for his help and Chisolm agrees reluctantly. But first he’ll have to get together a team and so he gets in touch with a few old friends.

I have neither seen Seven Samurai, nor the old Magnificent Seven, so I was fresh to the story with this film and I really wasn’t particularly taken with it.

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Pawn Sacrifice (2014)

Pawn Sacrifice
Director: Edward Zwick
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard, Edward Zinoviev, Alexandre Gorchkov, Lily Rabe, Robin Weigert
Seen on: 16.5.2016

Plot:
Bobby Fisher (Tobey Maguire) loves one thing and one thing only: playing chess. And he’s damn good at it. So good, in fact, that he seems to be the only person who might be able to actually beat the Russians, in particular the current world champion Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber). In times of the Cold War, that victory becomes much more than a simple win in a game. But the pressure that puts on Bobby starts to be too much for his already fractured psyche.

I’m not a huge fan of movies that are yet another take on how closely genius and madness lie together. Usually those films do a great disservice to both. So I probably wouldn’t have seen Pawn Sacrifice if it hadn’t been for Liev Schreiber. Which would have actually been a pity. It didn’t blow me away, but it is a very decent film with great characters.

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Black Mass (2015)

Black Mass
Director: Scott Cooper
Writer: Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth
Based on: Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill’s book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob
Cast: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, David Harbour, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, Julianne Nicholson, W. Earl Brown, Bill Camp, Juno Temple
Seen on: 11.11.2015

Plot:
Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) runs one of the more powerful crime syndicates in Boston. But he does have his rivals. That’s when ambitious FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) approaches him. Connolly knows Bulger of old and he’s eager to make a name for himself, so he suggests that Bulger could become a FBI informant. That would give him more freedom in his affairs and it would help Connolly’s career by taking out plenty of bad guys – all of Bulger’s enemies.

Black Mass covers many years. Unfortunately it also feels like it lasts many, many years. It was such a boring film, I ultimately lost the battle against sleep and drifted of for a few minutes in-between.

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Blue Jasmine (2013)

Blue Jasmine
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alden Ehrenreich, Louis C.K., Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay

Plot:
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) married rich when she was younger, but then her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) was arrested and she lost everything. So she turns to her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) for shelter, despite their strained relationship and even though Ginger lives way beyond the standards Jasmine is used to. Jasmine tries to get back on her feet but she isn’t in the most stable state of minds to begin with.

Blue Jasmine mostly lives off Cate Blanchett’s incredible performance, but otherwise pretty much continues Woody Allen’s streak of lukewarm films (as far as I have seen them).

bluejasmine

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Night Moves (2013)

Night Moves
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Writer: Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, James Le Gros
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Josh (Jesse Eisenberg), Dena (Dakota Fanning) and Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) don’t really know each other a lot, but they come together for an act of environmental activism, if not to say terrorism: They plan to blow up a dam. But things like that aren’t that easy and nothing really works as planned.

I decided to give my… strained relationship with Reichardt’s movies yet another try. I’m not exactly sure why. But in this case, I actually liked half of the film which is more than I can say of her other films. But it’s still only half of it.

NightMoves

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Another Day in Paradise (1998)

Another Day in Paradise
Director: Larry Clark
Writer: Christopher B. Landon, Stephen Chin
Based on: Eddie Little‘s book
Cast: James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Vincent Kartheiser, Natasha Gregson Wagner, James Otis, Peter Sarsgaard
Part of: Road Movie Special at the Filmmuseum

Plot:
Bobbie (Vincent Kartheiser) and Rosie (Natasha Gregson Wagner) are young, in love, drug addicts and criminals. After a break-in that goes pretty badly for Bobbie, they meet Mel (James Woods) and his girlfriend Sid (Melanie Griffith). Mel sees potential in Bobbie and kind of adopts him – to use him for robberies and drug deals, introducing him into the “big league”. What at first seems to be a functioning, if morally dubious ersatz family soon gets out of control when they encounter problems with the drug deals.

Another Day in Paradise is a tight film with an excellent cast. It’s not perfect but it tells its story very well.

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