Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler
Director: Ivo van Hove
Writer: Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Patrick Marber
Cast: Ruth Wilson, Rafe Spall, Kyle Soller, Kate Duchêne, Sinead Matthews, Chukwudi Iwuji, Éva Magyar
Seen on: 9.3.2017

Plot:
Hedda (Ruth Wilson) and her husband George (Kyle Soller) have just returned from their honeymoon. But instead of excitement about their new life together, Hedda feels nothing but bored. When George reveals that – despite his best attempts – his promotion may be at risk and that they will have to cut their spendings as well, Hedda is less than happy. The appearance of her husband’s rival Lovborg (Chukwudi Iwuji), his lover Thea (Sinead Matthews) and her husband’s friend and colleague Brack (Rafe Spall) comes just at the right time to provide her with a bit of entertainment, then.

This production of Hedda Gabler is a thing of beauty. Wonderfully acted, emotionally devastating and great stage design – there’s really nothing more you could ask for.

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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 Big Short (2015)

The Big Short
Director: Adam McKay
Writer: Charles Randolph, Adam McKay
Based on: Michael Lewisbook
Cast: Christian BaleSteve Carell, Ryan GoslingBrad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, Rafe Spall, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy StrongJohn MagaroFinn Wittrock, Melissa Leo, Karen Gillan, Max GreenfieldBilly Magnussen, Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, Anthony Bourdain, Richard Thaler
Seen on: 20.1.2016

Plot:
Michael Burry (Christian Bale) may not have many social skills, but he knows finance. And he knows that something will have to give in the world of finance – and that he can profit from the banks’ greed if he plays his card rights. So he starts betting against banks, assuming that the loans they give out will start to collapse. His tactic becomes known to Wall Street Broker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) who approaches fund manager Mark Baum (Steve Carell) with the proposal to do the same. At the same time, college kids Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) enlist veteran investor Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to join into their own version of Burry’s scheme.

The Big Short treads pretty much the same ground as Margin Call, only that it is much more entertaining and made me understand the bursting of the real estate bubble much more.

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The World’s End (2013)

The World’s End
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy ConsidineMartin Freeman, Rafe SpallEddie MarsanRosamund PikePierce Brosnan, Bill Nighy, Michael Smiley, Steve Oram, Alice Lowe, David Bradley, Julia Deakin, Reece Shearsmith, Peter Serafinowicz, Mark Heap, Ben Whishaw (at least I’m pretty damn certain it was him)
Part of: The Cornetto Trilogy
[Here are my reviews of the other two movies in the trilogy.]

Plot:
When they were still young and living in Newton Haven, Gary King (Simon Pegg) and his friends Andy (Nick Frost), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Ollie (Martin Freeman) and Steven (Paddy Considine) tried themselves at a pub crawl and came short. 20 years later, Gary is still obsessed with the idea of finishing and convinces the old gang to come. But things are a little weird in Newton Haven – weirder than in other small towns.

Since I love both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I was very worried that it this film wouldn’t be able to fulfill my expectations. But fortunately it did. It was awesome.

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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.

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Re-Watch: Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick FrostTimothy DaltonJim BroadbentPaddy ConsidineRafe Spall, Olivia Colman, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Joe CornishAlice Lowe, David Bradley, Bill Bailey, Stephen MerchantJulia Deakin, Cate Blanchett, Steve Coogan, Peter Jackson
Part of: The Cornetto Trilogy

Plot:
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is London’s star police man. But his success makes the rest of the service look bad, so he is reassigned to the small town of Sandford, where he’s partnered up with Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). Sandford might officially be the safest town in the UK, but Nick’s investigations soon turn up some weird things, when a series of freak accidents start.

Man, I really love this movie. It’s funny, fast-paced and riddled with cameos (some of which I only just learned about, like Peter Jackson and Cate Blanchett). It’s just an absolute joy to watch.

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I Give It a Year (2013)

I Give It a Year
Director: Dan Mazer
Writer: Dan Mazer
Cast: Rose Byrne, Rafe SpallAnna FarisSimon Baker, Minnie Driver, Jason FlemyngOlivia Colman, Stephen Merchant, Daisy Haggard

Plot:
Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) just got married after a rather short dating period and despite several signs that it might not be such a good idea. As they return from their honeymoon and settle into their routine, problems start to arise. First, there’s Josh’s ex, Chloe (Anna Faris) who is still one of his best friends but with whom things might not be quite as resolved as both of them thought. And second there’s Nat’s new client, the charming and rich and obviously interested Guy (Simon Baker).

I Give It a Year has some nice jokes and one very good scene, but mostly it has characters one hesitates to call characters at all because they have no personalities whatsoever and everything else has been there before a little too often.

i-give-it-a-year

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Life of Pi (2012)

Life of Pi
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Magee
Based on: Yann Martel’s book
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Gérard Depardieu

Plot:
A writer (Rafe Spall) in search of a good story gets the hint that Pi (Irrfan Khan) has an interesting one to tell. So he asks for an interview and hears all about how Pi was shipwrecked and ended up alone on a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan and a tiger – Richard Parker. As if survival alone at sea wasn’t difficult enough. But with the shipwreck, Pi’s journey is only beginning.

I read the book a few years ago and I really didn’t like it. But Ang Lee was enough to draw me into the film anyway. And I am glad I went. Despite the movie’s constant attempts to force god down your throat. The movie was just that beautiful.

lifeofpi

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Prometheus (2012)

Prometheus
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Prequel to: the Alien movies (kinda)
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie

Plot:
After scientists find several unrelated cave paintings and murals that all depict the same star constellation, a mission is sent out to go to the planet and find out what’s there. And at first, the Promethes mission seems a full success – much to the joy to the scientist team of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). But the android David (Michael Fassbender) seems to have his own mission.

This is a pretty, pretty movie with some pretty, pretty people in it. And the cast really does try their best. But all their talent and all the pretty in the world can’t make up for the sheer stupidity of this film.

[SPOILERS]

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Anonymous (2011)

Anonymous
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: John Orloff
Cast: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, David Thewlis, Edward Hogg, Xavier Samuel, Sam Reid, Jamie Campbell Bower

Plot:
Edward De Vere (Rhys Ifans) is the Earl of Oxford and as such it is very much frowned upon that he writes plays, even though the aging Queen Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave) loves (his) plays very much. But Edward has the idea of letting the rather unknown writer Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) take credit for his plays. But instead the obnoxious actor William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) puts his name to it – and that is only where the trouble starts for Edward.

Holy crap, this movie was bad. I mean, I expected it to be bad, but I also expected it to be entertaining with it. But when I wasn’t headdesking, I was bored. Not what I think of as a good time. It does have its moments, but they are few and far between.

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