Dune (2021)

Dune
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth
Based on: Frank Herbert‘s novel
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Chen Chang, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Zendaya, Charlotte Rampling, Babs Olusanmokun, Benjamin Clémentine
Seen on: 18.9.2021

Content Note: fatmisia, colonialism, racism

Plot:
Paul (Timothée Chalamet) is the son and heir of Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Issac) and Bene Gesserit Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). By decree of the Emperor, the Atreides clan just received stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis, home to the valuable spice that keeps interstellar travel going. That means relieving the Harkonnens, led by their Baron (Stellan Skarsgård), of their post there – and the resulting wealth. If the Harkonnens hadn’t already been the Atreides’ mortal enemies, they would be now. Just before the Atreides family is moving to Arrakis, the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit (Charlotte Rampling) comes to test Paul, seeing great potential in him, whose fate seems to be intertwined not only with Arrakis, but the entire universe.

Dune is pretty much the epitome of an epic hero’s journey – with all the advantages and disadvantages of that. It’s a faithful adaptation with only few modernizations in the story and characters – and that, too, comes with its own problems. I guess, how much you like this film will strongly depend on how much you like the source material and how much you like the colors grey, brown and beige.

The film poster showing a moon, science fiction machinery, sand and a sandworm as a background. In the foreground, Leto (Oscar Isaac), Paul (Timothée Chalamet), Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), Chani (Zendaya), Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) and Gurney (Josh Brolin) as floating heads in different sizes.
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Reminiscence (2021)

Reminiscence
Director: Lisa Joy
Writer: Lisa Joy
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Marina de Tavira, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Natalie Martinez, Angela Sarafyan
Seen on: 31.8.2021

Plot:
In a Miami almost entirely drowned Nick (Hugh Jackman) and his employee Watts (Thandiwe Newton) run a small reminiscence business. Their clients come to relive their memories in the most realistic way possible with them. Everything changes for Nick the day that Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) comes in, hoping to find her lost keys. Nick and Mae become very close – until Mae disappears, leaving Nick scrambling to understand what happened with her, with them. Unable to let go, he digs into her past and uncovers more than he bargained for.

I had not realized going into the film that it was a noir set in the future. If I had, I may have liked it a little better, but fact is, I usually don’t like noirs and Reminiscence reminded me again why that is.

The film poster showing Nick (Hugh Jackman) standing with a gun in his hand, pointed at the floor. Behind him is a half-submerged street with boats and the other main characters are superimposed over the setting orange sun.
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Doctor Sleep (2019)

Doctor Sleep
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writer: Mike Flanagan
Based on: Stephen King‘s novel
Sequel to: The Shining
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Kyliegh Curran, Rebecca Ferguson, Cliff Curtis, Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind, Selena Anduze, Robert Longstreet, Carel Struycken, Zackary Momoh, Jocelin Donahue, Bruce Greenwood, Sallye Hooks, Alex Essoe, Jacob Tremblay
Seen on: 27.11.2019

Content Note: antiziganism

Plot:
Dan (Ewan McGregor) has had a rough go of it. The only way he knew how to deal with his supernatural abilities was to drown it in alcohol. But he is trying to change and to get a fresh start in a small town in New Hampshire. Once he is settled there, he realizes that another person with the same abilities, but stronger, is reaching out to him – a young girl called Abra (Kyliegh Curran). Abra knows that something bad is happening to kids like her – and she needs Dan’s help to figure it all out.

Doctor Sleep has the difficutl tasl of being a sequel to a book and a film which deviate from one another, and it does manage to make something interesting from those diverging predecessors. But the film’s blatant antiziganism is a huge problem.

The film poster showing a red hallway with Dan (Ewan McGregor) wallking towards a boy on a tricycle.
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Men in Black: International (2019)

Men in Black: International
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black, Men in Black II, Men in Black III
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson
Seen on: 19.6.2019

Plot:
When she was just a little child, Molly (Tessa Thompson) had an encounter with an alien and the Men in Black. She has been trying to find out more about the organization ever since. One night, she finally hits gold and manages to find a MiB investigation in real time, following it to the MiB headquarters where she is finally uncovered. She can even convince Agent O (Emma Thompson) to let her work there on a probationary basis. Molly, now Agent M, is sent to London where she starts to work with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). The two soon realize that there is a threat to the MiB – and it may not be alien, but coming from the inside of the organization.

Men in Black: International is fun and nice enough to watch. It’s probably the best MiB since the first, though still a couple of leagues behind that one. I enjoyed it, but I’m not too excited about it.

The film poster showing Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth)  cradling huge weapons on their shoulders, Agent High T (Liam Neeson, smaller, holding a memory eraser, Agent O (Emma Thompson) looking sternly as well as a couple of aliens and a pug wearing a suit.
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The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

The Kid Who Would Be King
Director: Joe Cornish
Writer: Joe Cornish
Cast: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Noma Dumezweni, Rebecca Ferguson, Mark Bonnar, Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart
Seen on: 24.4.2019
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Plot:
When Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) steps in when his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) is being bullied, the two bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris) don’t take too kindly to it. That night, they chase Alex on his way home, but Alex hides in a construction site where he finds a sword embedded in the stone. He pulls it out – and realizes that it is actually Excalibur. Along with Excalibut comes Merlin (Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart) and a threat in the form of Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson). It is up to Alex and his friends to stop her.

I have rarely seen a film get a cinematic release that was talked about so little as The Kid Who Would Be King. And I honestly don’t get it. It is a cute family film, it has famous people and it is very entertaining. By rights, it should have been easy to advertise and easier still to be a success. So, take it from me and have fun with this one!

The film poster showing Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) in armor, with a big sword strapped to his back.
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Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Bruce Geller, Christopher McQuarrie,
Based on: The TV show
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Wes Bentley, Frederick Schmidt, Alec Baldwin
Seen on: 15.8.2018

Plot:
Two years after Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team defeated Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) and dismantled The Syndicate, the remnants of that terrorist organization have re-grouped and hatched a new plan. They set out to acquire plutonium cores, Ethan and his team – Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) are supposed to stop them – and ultimately fail. Having lost the cores, Ethan is assigned a CIA agent to watch his work, August Walker (Henry Cavill). And MI6′ Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) also takes an interest in the plutonium, hoping that she won’t have to decide between her mission and Ethan again.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout was an entirely satisfying action movie and was definitely one of the better M:I movies. I had fun.

The film poster showing The main cast, the Eiffel Tower and two helicopters.
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The Greatest Showman (2017)

The Greatest Showman
Director: Michael Gracey
Writer: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eric Anderson
Seen on: 9.1.2018
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Plot:
P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) is driven and has big dreams. But he’s also poor. His wife Charity (Michelle Williams) is fully supportive. When Barnum loses his job, he finds a way to get a loan and invests in a museum of oddities. But he soon graduates from showing way figures to building a show with extraordinary people.

I was fully prepared for The Greatest Showman to be awful, but I really didn’t expect the level of terrible the film achieves. It’s a catastrophe wrapped in a candy look.

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Life (2017)

Life
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Cast: Ryan ReynoldsRebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dykhovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare
Seen on: 29.3.2017

Plot:
Six astronauts/scientists on the International Space Station study samples that have just been successfully collected on Mars. They hope to find out more about the conditions on Mars, but what they find instead is actually life: a single cell organism that’s either dead or dormant – but it’s there. They can barely contain their excitement, especially when their attempts to revive the organism are actually successful. But they have never encountered a live form like this – and it quickly turns out that it’s more than they bargained for.

Life is a decent, albeit derivative film that works pretty well – at least if you don’t keep comparing it with the Alien franchise it is a little sibling of.

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Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

Florence Foster Jenkins
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Nicholas Martin
Cast: Meryl StreepHugh GrantSimon HelbergRebecca FergusonNina AriandaStanley TownsendAllan CordunerChristian McKayDavid HaigJohn Sessions
Seen on: 30.11.2016

Plot:
Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) loves singing opera and dreams of performing for a big crowd. And since she’s rich, she has the means to make her dreams come true, despite the fact that she can’t actually sing. Her husband St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) is devoted to her and wants to make sure that she’ll be able to perform without being ridiculed. He hires pianist Cosmé McMoon (Simon Helberg) to practice with her and together the two men form an alliance to get Florence on the stage.

Florence Foster Jenkins didn’t blow me away, but it was a sweet and entertaining film that I enjoyed.

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The Girl on the Train (2016)

The Girl on the Train
Director: Tate Taylor
Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson
Based on: Paula Hawkinsnovel
Cast: Emily BluntHaley BennettRebecca FergusonJustin TherouxLuke EvansEdgar RamírezAllison JanneyLisa Kudrow
Seen on: 3.11.2016

Plot:
Rachel (Emily Blunt) takes the same train to work every day. And every day she sees Megan (Haley Bennett) who lives a few houses down from the one Rachel used to live with her now ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux). Tom left her for Anne (Rebecca Ferguson) and they still live in that house with their new baby. Rachel becomes rather obsessed with Megan, catching three seconds of her life every day. And then she hears that Megan went missing. Rachel wants to help, but she is also worried about herself because she lost the memory of the night Megan went missing and just knows that she woke up dirty and with blood on her hands.

The Girl on the Train tries very much to hit the same lane as Gone Girl but fundamentally misunderstands what made Gone Girl so great. It was a frustrating experience.

[SPOILERS for The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl]

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