The Dinner (2017)

The Dinner
Director: Oren Moverman
Writer: Oren Moverman
Based on: Herman Koch‘s novel
Cast: Richard GereLaura LinneySteve CooganRebecca HallChloë SevignyMichael ChernusCharlie PlummerSeamus Davey-FitzpatrickMiles J. Harvey
Seen on: 20.6.2017
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Plot:
Paul (Steve Coogan), a history teacher, and his wife Claire (Laura Linney) are meeting Paul’s brother Stan (Richard Gere), a successful politician, and his second wife Katelyn (Rebecca Hall) for dinner. Paul obviously doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t actually like Stan a lot and he’s struggling with his mental health. But something happened that involves Paul and Claire’s son, as well as Stan’s kids from his first marriage. And the four present parents need to decide what to do about what happened.

The Dinner managed to completely dismantle white, rich privilege without ever leaving the privileged perspective. Nothing in this film is okay, but it is worth looking at the issues exactly because of that.

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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 Gift (2015)

The Gift
Director: Joel Edgerton
Writer: Joel Edgerton
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Allison Tolman, Tim Griffin, Busy Philipps
Seen on: 24.11.2015

Plot:
After a miscarriage, Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) decided that they need a fresh start. So they move from Chicago to California, close to where Simon grew up. By chance they run into Gordo (Joel Edgerton) who used to go to school with Simon. Simon doesn’t recognize him at first and is generally reluctant, but Gordo is undeterred in his friendliness. He brings over gifts and Robyn invites him to dinner. But there seems to be more going on than just Gordo’s friendly strangeness.

The Gift is a sleek little thriller. It probably won’t write cinematic history, but it manages to create enough tension to be thoroughly engaging throughout.

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[Vague SPOILERS]

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Transcendence (2014)

Transcendence
Director: Wally Pfister
Writer: Jack Paglen
Cast: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Cole Hauser, Clifton Collins Jr., Morgan Freeman

Plot:
Will (Johnny Depp) and Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) are computer scientists working on A.I.s. When Will gets very sick, Evelyn enlists the help of Max (Paul Bettany) to try and scan Will’s brain activity and upload it and with it him to their system to try and save his life that way. Against all odds, the experiment is a success but Will doesn’t seem to be quite himself anymore.

From the trailer I was pretty damn certain that Transcendence wouldn’t be the most positive film about technology out there. But I thought that at least it would be entertaining. But unfortunately it was boring. So boring I fell asleep for a bit during the showdown.

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Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3
Director: Shane Black
Writer: Drew Pearce, Shane Black
Based on: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby‘s comic
Sequel to: Iron Man, Iron Man 2 [here are all my Iron Man reviews]
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, William Sadler, Miguel Ferrer and [SPOILER] Mark Ruffalo
Part of: Marvel movies

Plot:
After the events in The Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is at least as shook up as his entire worldview. He tries to deal with things by tinkering around with his Iron Man suits but he doesn’t really get anywhere with it. In the meantime, a terrorist keeps setting off bombs and they aren’t close to finding him yet. In a bad mood, Tony challenges him and gives him his home address. And suddenly things get very personal indeed.

Iron Man 3 was very enjoyable and entertaining and far from being as dark as the trailer made it seem. I did have a couple of issues with it, but mostly it’s a wonderful continuation of the series.

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The Town (2010)

The Town is Ben Affleck‘s adaptation of Chuck Hogan‘s book Prince of Thieves, starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Peter Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper.

Plot:
Doug (Ben Affleck) and his best friend James (Jeremy Renner) head a team of bank robbers. During one of their robberies they force bank employee Claire (Rebecca Hall) to open the safe. Afterwards Doug – who has been thinking of quitting robberies for good – “accidentally meets” Claire (who doesn’t recognise him) for a bit to see if she knows anything she could have told FBI agent Frawley (Jon Hamm). But Doug and Claire really hit it off and now Doug has to try to protect Claire from his lifestyle and from James, who is pretty volatile.

Here’s a movie I don’t understand the positive reviews of: Yeah, the supporting cast is good, but unfortunately, Ben Affleck still can’t act and neither can Rebecca Hall. And the whole film is boring.

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Dorian Gray (2009)

Dorian Gray is the newest movie by Oliver Parker, starring Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Ben Chaplin and Rebecca Hall. It’s an adaptation of Oscar Wilde‘s novel, which I’ve reviewed here.

Plot:
Dorian (Ben Barnes) comes to London after his grandfather’s death; a naive, well-meaning young man. The painter Basil (Ben Chaplin) soon discovers him as his newest muse and introduces him to the high society, especially the cynical Lord Henry (Colin Firth). After the painting is done, Dorian gives his soul so that it ages instead of him. Thoroughly corrupted by Lord Henry, Dorian’s excesses get more and more depraved as his painting gets uglier and uglier.

This… well, this is not a good movie. I think that’s the simplest and yet the most fitting way to put it. Ben Barnes was miscast, the plot was changed, and not to its advantage and Oscar Wilde’s wit was practically eradicated. What’s left is a boring, trite and too long film.

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Frost/Nixon (2008)

Frost/Nixon is Ron Howard‘s new movie, written by Peter Morgan (based on his play) and starring Michael Sheen, Frank Langella, Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt, Matthew Macfadyen and Rebecca Hall.

Plot:
Richard Nixon [Frank Langella] is the first president to resign after the Watergate scandal and shortly after, there’s a general pardon for him. David Frost [Michael Sheen], a talk show host, decides to interview him to get to the truth. What follows is a David vs Goliath style battle between two people who don’t know what to expect from the other.

The casting and playing, the directing, the screenplay are all formidable. It has a few lengths, though, and wouldn’t have suffered from a few cuts.

[I keep saying that about movies. I’m worried about my attention span. Seriously am.]

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is Woody Allen‘s newest movie.

A slight disclaimer before I start: I’m a fan of his early work, but his latest movies sucked so much that I shouldn’t have bothered to watch them. Yet, somehow, I can’t leave it be. So, if you can’t stand bitter comments about Match Point or Cassandra’s Dream (my review here), better not read this.

Anyhoo, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is okay, I guess. It definitely isn’t as abysmal as the aforementioned movies. But it’s not very good, either.

Plot: Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) are best friends and decide to go to Barcelona together. Both girls are complete opposites – Vicky is the practical, calm, rational stereotype, whose life seems happy, but actually, she’s very unhappy because there’s no passion in it, while Cristina is the impulsive, fickle artist-stereotype, who goes from one relationship to the next, never actually being able to stay anywhere for long. When they meet the painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), who barely escapes the fate of being a complete stereotype himself, both fall for him. Which of course can’t end well, especially since Juan Antonio’s manic-depressive artist cliché ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) is still very present in his life.

vicky_cristina_barcelonaIf I was Rebecca Hall, I would be very angry about this marketing – she’s more of a main character than Penelope Cruz.

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