Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Prequel to: Harry Potter
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan FoglerAlison Sudol, Colin FarrellSamantha Morton, Ezra MillerFaith Wood-BlagroveJenn MurrayCarmen EjogoJon Voight, Ron PerlmanZoë KravitzJohnny Depp 
Seen on: 26.11.2016

Plot:
Newt (Eddie Redmayne) studies and keeps magical creatures. But the political situation in the UK is becoming more and more difficult for them, so he makes his way to the USA where he hopes to find them a new life, even if it means hiding the creatures from immigration in a magic suitcase. But magical creatures aren’t the only one affected by politics – in fact, there’s only a very tentative peace between the non-magical and the magical world. Everything could be going easily, but Newt takes the wrong suitcase and it’s baker – and decidedly non-magical human – Jacob (Dan Fogler) who walks off with the creatures, while Newt gets arrested by the recently demoted auror Tina (Katherine Waterston). Chaos ensues – chaos that is more closely connected to the political uproar than it first appears.

I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan myself (read all the books and saw all the films though), so the news of Fantastic Beasts didn’t leave me very excited – and neither did the film itself. It’s sweet and I was entertained, but if it wasn’t connected to the Harry Potter phenomenon, I doubt that it would be a film that stays with people.

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13 Sins (2014)

13 Sins
Director: Daniel Stamm
Writer: David Birke, Daniel Stamm
Remake of: 13 game sayawng [13 Game of Death]
Cast: Mark Webber, Devon Graye, Tom Bower, Rutina Wesley, Ron Perlman
Part of: Secret Society Screening at the /slash Filmfestival
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]

Plot:
Elliot (Mark Webber) is about to get married to Shelby (Rutina Wesley) which is added stress (also financially) to a life that isn’t already very easy: his brother Michael (Devon Graye) has a disability, his father (Tom Bower) lives his life in a retirement home, mostly occupied with hating everybody. Both have to be supported by Elliot who is not really the most succesful salesman. That’s when he gets a call from a mysterious voice that offers him easy money – if he just plays along with their game by completing 13 tasks. They start off harmless, but that’s not how they stay.

13 Sins uses a concept that we’ve seen quite a bit already, but it is well done and entertaining, albeit not groundbreaking.

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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Based on: Rick Riordan‘s novel
Sequel to: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Cast: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Jake Abel, Anthony Stewart Head, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion, Yvette Nicole Brown, Robert Knepper, Grey Damon, Ron Perlman, Octavia Spencer, Craig Robinson

Plot:
After his success with Zeus’ lightning bolt Percy (Logan Lerman) has yet to have another big success, much to his chagrin and Clarisse’ (Leven Rambin) enjoyment. But then things get quickly out of whack: Percy’s half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), a cyclops, shows up. Camp Half-Blood is attacked by the not-dead-after-all Luke (Jake Abel) and its magical barrier starts failing. It’s Clarisse who gets tasked with finding the Golden Fleece to save the camp, but fueled by a prophecy Percy, Tyson, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) go on the same quest.

Sea of Monsters, much like the first film, was pretty nice the most time, but also ultimately not great or awesome. There is nothing really wrong with it and it did have a great supporting cast, but I didn’t connect with it all that much.

percy_jackson_sea_of_monsters

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Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Travis Beacham
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn GormanMax MartiniRobert Kazinsky, Ron Perlman, Diego Klattenhoff

Plot:
In the future huge monsters – kaijus – have started to rise from the sea. To defend themselves humanity has developed huge robots – jaegers – that have to be piloted by two people at the same time, for which they need a certain neurological compatibility. One of these pilots is Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam), who lost his co-pilot and brother and has since retired. But he gets re-recruited by Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) who plans a last ditch effort to keep the monsters at bay before the jaeger program is disbanded.

I was disappointed by Pacific Rim. With all the positive reviews and buzz the movie gathered (and Guillermo del Toro at the helm), I’m afraid that my expectations were just way too high.

pacific-rim

[Slight SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Alien: Resurrection
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Writer: Joss Whedon
Sequel to: Alien, Aliens, Alien³
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Raymond Cruz, Dan Hedaya

Plot:
200  years after Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) died, a clone of her wakes up on a spaceship. But she’s not entirely human anymore. Instead the scientist have mixed her DNA with Alien DNA in an attempt to revive the Queen. And finally they have managed. As the experiments go on, a band of smugglers led by Frank Elgyn (Michael Wincott), come aboard to deliver something (or better someone). Among the smugglers is Annalee Call (Winona Ryder) who, it soon turns out, has her own agenda. And then everything quickly goes to hell.

Alien: Resurrection is not a very good film. There are moments where you get glimpses of Whedon’s sense of humor (which I probably only noticed because I knew Whedon was the writer) and moments where the themes that are explored get actually interesting, but they pass by way too quickly, leaving you with a so-standard-it’s-boring action film.

[SPOILER]

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Season of the Witch (2011)

Season of the Witch
Director: Dominic Sena
Writer: Bragi F. Schut
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ron PerlmanStephen Campbell Moore, Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen, Claire Foy, Robert Sheehan, Christopher Lee

Instead of the usual review, this is going to be a blog-along. Because we all know this movie deserves it, and we should all bask in its glory.

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Drive (2011)

Drive
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: James Sallis‘ novel
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
The Driver (Ryan Gosling) is actually a stunt man, but he also works as a getaway driver for robberies. He is always on the move. The only constant in his life is his employer/agent/friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston). Shannon tries to find funding to get him established as a race car driver. When the Driver gets involved into a heist for the sake of a friend, things start to go wrong very quickly.

The buzz for Drive is pretty impressive. What’s even more impressive is that it’s also absolutely true. It’s an incredibly intense, well acted and beautifully shot film.

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Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Conan the Barbarian
Director: Marcus Nispel
Writer: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Sean Hood
Based on: Robert E. Howard‘s character
Cast: Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman, Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols

Plot:
Corin (Ron Perlman) is the leader of a tribe of warriors who some way back defeated sorceres who had made a mask of considerable dark power. They broke the mask in several pieces and hid them around the world. But now Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang) is hunting the pieces – and his last station is Corin. He pretty much destroys Corin’s village, and then tortures Corin and his son Conan (Leo Howard). Khalar Zym completes the mask, Corin dies and Conan barely escapes.
20 years later Conan (Jason Momoa) is a bandit fighting for a good cause, but always looking for revenge on Khalar Zym and his crazy-ass daughter Marique (Rose McGowan). He gets his chance when he stumbles upon Tamara (Rachel Nichols), the last of a blood-line needed to complete the rituals to activate the mask’s power.

I expected this movie to be bad, but I honestly did not expect the level of crappiness that it achieved. It is kind of a staggering achievement to make a movie this bad.

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Tangled (2010)

Tangled is the newest Disney movie. It was directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard and stars the voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman and Jeffrey Tambor. It’s based on the fairy tale Rapunzel.

Plot:
Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) has spent her whole life in a tower, not allowed to go out because the woman she thinks is her mother (Donna Murphy) wants to keep Rapunzel’s magical hair all to herself. But Rapunzel has plans, in particular, she wants to see the strange floating lights up close that appear every year on her birthday. When the thief Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi) stumbles upon her tower, she sees her chance to get a guide.

Despite a few weaknesses and plot holes, Tangled is definitely the best Disney movie in years. It looks wonderful, is funny and most of all, it’s utterly charming. A great reworking of the old fairy tale.

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