Plot: After becoming an international fugitive for violating the Sokovia Accords, Natasha aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) should be lying low and disappear for a while. And she’s fully prepared to do so. Instead she receives a mysterious package and is attacked for it. Trying to figure out what’s going on, Natasha realizes that her younger sister Yelena (Florence Pugh) is trying to bring down the Red Room where they were both trained. Despite initial difficulties, the two join forces. But they need the help of their former parents, Alexei aka the Red Guardian (David Harbour) and former Widow Melina (Rachel Weisz).
I didn’t expect all that much from Black Widow, I have to admit (it was the fat joke in the trailer that killed my excitement a little, and the fact that I’m no great Scarlett Johansson fan), but I have to say that the film was absolutely enjoyable and definitely among the stronger films in the MCU.
Plot: Ronit (Rachel Weisz) left the Orthodox Jewish community where she grew up behind. But when her father (Anton Lesser) dies, she returns for the funeral. Reconnecting with her best friends Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), her father’s closest student, and Esti (Rachel McAdams), she learns that the two got married. This further complicates her return – because she left all those years ago because she and Esti were in love. And maybe they still are.
Disobedience is a film that finds its strength in the quiet moments and in the lead performances. But it’s also a film that left me with a sense of unease regarding its protrayal of both queerness and of the Orthodox Jewish community.
Plot: Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives at the court of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), a distant relative of the queen and her new servant. But Anne is frail and it’s her confidante Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) who actually holds the reins to the country. Struggling for a place at court and a share of her power, Abigail tries to insinuate herself into Anne’s close circle, leading to a power struggle with Sarah.
The Favourite is an extremely funny film with an ending that doesn’t quite fit the rest in tone. I’m still undecided whether I liked that or not. But either way, the film is really entertaining.
Plot: Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) is an inventor and a dreamer. He hasn’t always had the best luck with his business, but he still dreams big. When he hears about a race to sail alone around the world without stopping, amateur sailor Donald decides to go for it, hoping that the cash prize will finally mean financial security. He throws everything he has and more at the project, designing his own boat and getting ready. But everything takes longer than he planned and despite the problems and the increasing worries of his wife (Rachel Weisz) and children, Donald sets off delayed and with an unfinished boat to try and win anyway.
The Mercy is an impressive film with a stellar cast and a healthy dose of criticism of the “if you just work it hard enough, you can have it all” notion. It’s tough to watch but mostly worth it.
Philip (Sam Claflin) was brought up by his cousin Ambrose who recently died after going to Italy. There he got married to a distant cousin but things seem to have taken a wrong turn and Philip received a letter from Ambrose claiming that he was being slowly killed by his wife. Philip determines to avenge Ambrose, a plan that get substantially easier when Ambrose’ widow Rachel (Rachel Weisz) announces coming to visit Philip. That Rachel is entirely different from what Philip imagined and he finds himself enchanted.
The film is a mixed bag of beans. Despite many strengths, it loses itself in the last third. But it did keep me watching attentively for most of the film.
Tom (Michael Shannon) and his wife Ramina (Azita Ghanizada) expect guests for dinner. Ramina is a jewelry designer who has recently been accepted into a design program across the country. Tom is ambivalent about moving and leaving his work behind. But before they can fight about this (again), their guests arrive and interrupt. Among them is Tom’s co-worker Clyde (Michael Chernus) who brought a date – the lovely Alice (Rachel Weisz). Michael is sure he knows Alice, but refers to her as Jenny. Her sudden re-appearance in Tom’s life throws him for a loop.
From the description I expected Complete Unknown to be an entirely different film, a thriller, something dramatic, dark and tension-filled. Instead I got a dialogue-driven rumination on identity. It wasn’t bad by a long-shot, but I did feel a little disappointed by that as the turn to darkness never came. Fortunately not for long, though.
Hester (Rachel Weisz) is married to William (Simon Russell Beale), but left him because she fell in love with Freddie (Tom Hiddleston). Now the two of them are kind of living together, but actually it’s more like they are continuously tearing themselves apart. It gets so bad that Hester tries to kill herself, which leads the three of them to finally confront the situation they find themselves in.
I already liked the film the first time round, but it was even better to watch it a second time. It’s fascinating to see myself reacting differently to the film again (it’s not been that long that I saw it for the first time) and to see the film again with new eyes.
Tom (Michael Fassbender) has signed up to be the lighthouse keeper on a small island just off the coast of a small town in Australia. On the rare occasions that he gets to come to the main land and see people, he meets Isabel (Alicia Vikander) and they quickly fall in love. Isabel is happy to lead the solitary lighthouse keeper life with Tom and would love nothing more than a baby. Much to her chagrin, she keeps miscarrying though, so it feels like fate when a boat with a baby washes up on their island during a storm. Tom only wants to see Isabel happy, so he agrees to keep the child. But when they hear of Hannah (Rachel Weisz) whose husband and child were lost during the storm, they will have to make a decision.
The Light Between Oceans is one of the cheesiest films I ever saw. It’s high-quality cheese, no doubt about it, but it was all a little too much for me, ultimately keeping me at a distance.
David (Colin Farrell) was recently divorced. As a single person, he has to check into the Hotel and find a new suitable partner in 45 days. If he doesn’t, he will be turned into an animal – like his brother was turned into a dog – and if nobody is there to take him in, he will be set loose in the woods surrounding the Hotel. So David tries to find somebody who is like him, but that’s easier said than done.
My history with Lanthimos’ movies has been mixed so far but The Lobster might be his best film yet. It’s certainly his most accessible film, although it is still very, very weird and not easy to get into, and my personal favorite.
Fred (Michael Caine) is on holiday in a Swiss resort with his best friend Mick (Harvey Keitel). Mick is trying to write his latest screenplay, supposed to be his big oeuvre, together with a group of young writers. Fred is just trying to get some peace and quiet, when an emissary (Alex Macqueen) from the Queen of England approaches him to ask him to conduct his most famous symphony for Prince Philipp’s birthday, much to the surprise of the emissary and Fred’s daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz). Lena comes to visit but stays longer than planned when her husband and Mick’s son Julian (Ed Stoppard) announces that he’s leaving her.
I was very reluctant to see Youth. I was afraid that the film would be all about a couple of old guys olging young women (the poster suggests nothing different). Fortunately the lusting was kept to a minimum and there was a lot about the film that I enjoyed. It won’t become my favorite film ever, but it was far from as bad as I expected.