Ocean’s Eight (2018)

Ocean’s Eight
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch
Spin-off from: Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Dakota Fanning, Elliott Gould, Richard Armitage, James Corden
Seen on: 2.7.2018

Plot:
Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) was just released from prison and has already plans for a new, daring heist at the Met Gala. She just needs to convince her friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) to go along with it and then they can assemble a team to pull it off. And Debby already knows the women they need to do it.

Ocean’s Eight may not be the film of the century, but it never set out to be. What it is, is a perfectly entertaining heist film with a great cast that is a wonderful addition to the Ocean films that have come before it. I hope there will be a sequel or five.

Film poster showing the eight main women in front of a red background.
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Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Director: James Bobin
Writer: Linda Woolverton
Based on: Lewis Carroll‘s novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Sequel to: Alice in Wonderland
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham-CarterSacha Baron CohenRhys Ifans, Matt LucasLindsay DuncanLeo Bill, Geraldine James, Andrew Scott, Richard ArmitageEd Speleers, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall
Seen on: 2.6.2016

Plot:
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is working very hard to keep her father’s shipping company together, but things aren’t going well. Things seem doomed after her mother (Lindsay Duncan) signed over their shares to Alice’ former suitor Hamish (Leo Bill). It is just then that bad news reaches Alice from Wonderland and she sets off there to help the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) who hasn’t been himself. In fact, he seems to have crossed the line into absolute madness, believing firmly that his family isn’t actually dead, but can still be brought back. Reluctantly Alice agrees to help by speaking to Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and trying to get to the chronosphere which would help them clear matters up. But things get more complicated when it becomes obvious that the Red Queen (Helena Bonham-Carter) is also involved.

The first Alice film wasn’t particularly good, though I did enjoy watching that cast in that production design for the most part. That’s why I figured I would give Alice Through the Looking Glass a try as well. Unfortunately, it was even less convincing than the first film.

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The Crucible

The Crucible
Director: Yaël Farber
Writer: Arthur Miller
Cast: Richard Armitage, Harry Attwell, Samantha Colley, Natalie Gavin, Anna Madeley, William Gaunt, Jack Ellis, Ann Firbank, Adrian Schiller, Neil Salvage, Michael Thomas
Seen on: 03.02.2015

Plot:
A girl has fallen ill in Salem and witchcraft is suspected. When a group of young girls led by Abigail Williams (Samantha Colley) starts to act possessed, things quickly run out of control and one woman after the other is accused of being a witch, apprehended and put on trial. But Abigail has her own motives and they revolve around John Proctor (Richard Armitage) who had a short-lived affair with her some time ago. John doesn’t realize the gravity of the situation at first, but as things continue to spiral out of control he finds himself more and more involved.

I remember reading The Crucible in school and quite liking it (though I couldn’t remember the details anymore), but this production really didn’t do it for me, despite the really excellent cast.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, and other books of his
Sequel to: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Prequel to: The Lord of the Rings
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam BrownOrlando BloomEvangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Lee Pace, Manu Bennett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mikael Persbrandt, Hugo WeavingChristopher LeeBilly Connolly

Plot:
The dwarves and Bilbo (Martin Freeman) have roused Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Smaug is on his way to lay waste to Laketown. But Bard (Luke Evans) manages to save the town from that fate by killing Smaug. Now the Lonely Mountain can be claimed by Thorin (Richard Armitage), who immediately starts looking for one particular gem – the Arkenstone – and slowly succumbs to dragon sickness. In the meantime various armies start to gather outside the Lonely Mountain, all with a different claim on the treasure and/or the people within.

I thought that the last installment of the movie really was quite disappointing. I mean, neither of the three can live up to The Lord of the Rings anyway, but at least Desolation of Smaug was entertaining. Battle of the Five Armies was too much battle, too little coherence and way too much Alfrid.

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, and other books of his
Sequel to: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Prequel to: The Lord of the Rings
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam BrownOrlando BloomEvangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy, Lee Pace, Manu Bennett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mikael Persbrandt

Plot:
The dwarves and Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) have come quite a way under the leadership of Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Thorin (Richard Armitage), but they still have a long way ahead of them until they will reach the dragon. As they reach Mirkwood, Gandalf has to leave them and the group soon finds itself in the clutches of the wood elves and King Thranduill (Lee Pace).

I already enjoyed the last Hobbit movie but this was one was even better. The pacing works more smoothly (even if it could have been a little shorter), the characters are awesome as usual and it has brilliant moments (and moments of none-brilliance).

thehobbitdesolationofsmaug

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Re-Watch: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger
Director: Joe Johnston
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Toby Jones, Samuel L. Jackson
Part of: Marvel movies
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) dreams only of one thing: he wants to be able to do his duty for  his country and fight in WW2. Unfortunately, he is small and sickly and is never accepted into the army, unlike his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan). During one last attempt to sign up, he meets Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci). Erskine is convinced he sees the right morality in Steve to take part in his experiment: Erskine is trying to develop a supersoldier. Steve jumps at the chance – but that’s only the beginning of his journey.

I had forgotten how bad this movie actually was. I mean, it’s entertaining and the cast is brilliant and it does have its funny script moments, but generally it is not a movie that is very thought through.

captain_america

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, and other books of his
Prequel to: The Lord of the Rings
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Lee Pace, Manu Bennett, Bret McKenzie, Benedict Cumberbatch

Plot:
Many, many years ago, there were dwarves living in Erebor, amassing huge riches until they were attacked by the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). They lost their mountains, their gold and were scattered in many directions. Now Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) last descendant of Erebor’s king, is ready to get it all back. So he put together a group of loyal dwarves, but asks the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to find a 14th member for their party. Gandalf recruits the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). Bilbo is reluctant – as a hobbit, he generally doesn’t think much of adventures or leaving home at all – but he is finally convinces and so all of them set off for a great adventure. An adventure that proves more dangerous and connected to more things than initially assumed.

For practically anybody of about my age (and of a nerdy/geeky persuasion), the Lord of the Rings films were more than just movies – they were events that opened me and my friends up to many things, but especially to the intricacies of internet fandom and all that entails. It seems clear that 10 years later the Hobbit can’t quite reach that status anymore. But An Unexpected Journey is a film that I enjoyed for the most part.

The_Hobbit _An_Unexpected_Journey

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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger* is the newest film by Joe Johnston, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on the comic books by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and starring Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Toby Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.

Plot:
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) dreams only of one thing: he wants to be able to do his duty for  his country and fight in WW2. Unfortunately, he is small and sickly and is never accepted into the army, unlike his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan). During one last attempt to sign up, he meets Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci). Erskine is convinced he sees the right morality in Steve to take part in his experiment: Erskine is trying to develop a supersoldier. Steve jumps at the chance – but that’s only the beginning of his journey.

After the buzz Captain America got, I was expecting a movie that was actually good – and was surprised how craptastic the film actually was. I was still entertained very much. But there were many moments of entertainment out of ridiculousness.

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