Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Sorry to Bother You
Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Cast: LaKeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Kate Berlant, Michael X. Sommers, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, Robert Longstreet, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Lily James, Forest Whitaker, Rosario Dawson, W. Kamau Bell
Seen on: 4.8.2019

Plot:
Cassius (LaKeith Stanfield) lives with his girlfriend, the artist Detroit (Tessa Thompson), in his uncle Sergio’s (Terry Crews) garage. Money is tight and that doesn’t really change when Cassius starts a new job as a telemarketer. But success is just around the corner when Cassius discovers his white voice and uses it in his sales. At the same time though his co-worker Squeeze (Steve Yeun) is starting to raise concerns about the products they are selling.

Sorry to Bother You is a wild film, in the best sense: it takes you into entirely different directions and it has so much fun with exploring and experimenting, that it doesn’t matter in the slightest when things get a little messy. I was thoroughly charmed by pretty much everything about it.

The film poster showing LaKeith Stanfield with a bandaged head.
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The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

The LEGO Batman Movie
Director: Chris McKay
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character
Cast: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson, Billy Dee Williams, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Ellie Kemper, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam Devine, Hector Elizondo, Mariah Carey
(I saw the dubbed German version, though.)
Seen on: 9.2.2017

Plot:
Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Will Arnett) leads a rather lonely existence. Between beating up criminals like the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and eating lobster thermidor prepared by his trusted butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), he spends most of his time alone and in pain at the memory of the family he lost. But things change rapidly when Bruce not only accidentally adopts an orphan (Michael Cera), but the Joker and pretty much the entire league of supervillains surrender themselves to Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) who just proposed a new approach to crime for the police. But there must be something behind that surrender and Bruce has to find out.

The Lego Batman Movie is a celebration and parody of all things Batman and more. It’s as funny as it is nonsensical, and yet it manages to say more about the character Batman than more serious adaptations have managed. But at its heart, there is not much behind the jokes.

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Frank Miller
Based on: Frank Miller’s comics
Sequel/Prequel to: Sin City
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Josh BrolinEva Green, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher MeloniJeremy PivenChristopher Lloyd, Juno TempleStacy KeachMarton Csokas, Jamie Chung, Julia GarnerJaime King, Lady Gaga, Bruce Willis

Plot [with SPOILERS for the first film]:
Basin City is called Sin City for a reason. A town full of crooked politicians, even more crooked cops, murderers, sex workers and pretty much everyone who was thrown out everywhere else. Marv (Mickey Rourke) spends most of his time when he isn’t fighting with somebody in a strip club where Nancy (Jessica Alba) dances. Nancy is still hung up on Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) suicide to save her and tries to kill Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) who is to blame and regularly plays poker at her club. He always wins, of course, until Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) shows up. But the Senator can’t have people beating him. Dwight (Josh Brolin) is also at the strip club a lot. He is still obsessed with his ex Ava (Eva Green) who suddenly shows up in his life again and severely disrupting it in the process. Now he needs Marv’s help.

I couldn’t tell you what the difference was between the first film and the second since it looks equally great, has an equally good cast and tells equally problematic stories. But in Sin City everything works. In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For I spent very long stretches feeling very bored.

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Re-Watch: Sin City (2005)

Sin City
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, (Quentin Tarantino)
Writer: Frank Miller
Based on: Frank Miller’s comics
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Jessica AlbaElijah Wood, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Powers Boothe, Michael Clarke DuncanRutger Hauer, Michael Madsen, Devon AokiJosh Hartnett, Alexis BledelJaime King, Carla Gugino, Brittany Murphy, Nick Offerman, Nick Stahl

Plot:
Basin City is called Sin City for a reason. A town full of crooked politicians, even more crooked cops, murderers, sex workers and pretty much everyone who was thrown out everywhere else. After the last good cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis) saved Nancy (Jessica Alba) from a pedophile and Senator’s son (Nick Stahl), he had to take the fall for it. But now he is out of prison and full of worry for Nancy’s continued safety. Nancy works as a stripper in a local club. At that same club, Shelly (Brittany Murphy) works as a waitress and she’s freshly in love with Dwight (Clive Owen). But her ex Jackie (Benicio Del Toro) is not done with her yet and Dwight suddenly finds himself in over his head in the part of town run by the sex workers. One of them (Jaime King) was just murdered – while Marv (Mickey Rourke) slept next to her no less. Now Marv is determined to find her killer and to exact vengeance.

I remember when I first saw Sin City – I was completely blown away by it (back then I was also a rather unaware baby-feminist, so I barely noticed the incredible sexism). Now I look at it with a more critical eye, but it’s still an awesome film.

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Raze (2013)

Raze
Director: Josh C. Waller
Writer: Robert Beaucage
Cast: Zoe Bell, Rachel Nichols, Tracie Thoms, Sherilyn Fenn, Doug Jones, Bruce Thomas, Bailey Anne Borders, Rebecca Marshall, Adrienne Wilkinson, Allene Quincy, Rosario Dawson
Part of: (Secret Supporter Screening of  the) /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Jamie (Rachel Nichols) wakes up in a cell connected to a series of tunnels. She doesn’t know why she’s there or how she got there but she finds herself pitted against Sabrina (Zoe Bell) in a fight for life or death. And they are not the only women in there who apparently provide some form of entertainment for somebody.

Raze does not exactly have a new concept but it works, mostly due to the amazing cast of kick-ass women.

raze

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Re-Watch: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: Craig Titley
Based on: Rick Riordan’s novel
Cast: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Uma Thurman
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Percy Jackson’s (Logan Lerman) life is far from perfect. He’s dyslexic, suffers from ADHD and his mom (Catherine Keener) is married to an asshole. And then Percy finds out that his father is the god Poseidon, his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is a satyr and his teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur. But that’s only the start of his adventures since Zeus’ (Sean Bean) lightning bolt was stolen – and everyone thinks it was Percy who did it.

On re-watching the film it is at the same time less infuriating but also less fun than the first time round. It’s nice, but it also feels completely inconsequential. It’s the kind of film you watch and you don’t mind seeing it but you never think of it again as soon as it’s done.

percyjackson

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Re-Watch: Men in Black II (2002)

Men in Black II
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Robert Gordon, Barry Fanaro
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub

Plot:
Many years ago, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) hid the light of Zartha from the Kylothians. But now K is retired, his memory is wiped and the Kylothians, headed by Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), threaten to destroy the earth if they don’t get the light. So Agent J (Will Smith) gets K back from retirement and together they try to find K’s memory and save the world.

I remembered that the second film wasn’t as good as the first one, but I still liked it. That is, until this re-watch. They sucked the fun out of the premise, replaced it with sexism and hoped that nobody would notice. Unfortunately, I did.

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Unstoppable (2010)

Unstoppable is the newst movie by Tony Scott, starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson and Ethan Supplee.

Plot:
Due to the ineptitude of one worker (Ethan Supplee), one of the trains in Southern Pennsylvania kinda runs off. Runaway trains are apparently not that uncommon, so everybody stays rather cool until it’s discovered that the train isn’t a coaster, but is under power and has picked up quite some speed. Now track manager [or whatever the official title is] Connie (Rosario Dawson) has to see to it that the damage stays as small as possible. She gets unexpected help from train-driver Frank (Denzel Washington) and conductor Will (Chris Pine) who are on the same track as the rogue train.

Unstoppable opens with the most dramatic credits I have ever seen: We see still standing trains, but the font, its animation and the frantic cutting suggest that we see the last few secones before an explosion. It is painful to watch – but it all goes downhill from there. Especially the cutting and Scott’s direction just never get any better.

[SPOILERS]

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Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is the adaptation of the first book in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. It was directed by Chris Columbus and stars Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd and Uma Thurman.

Plot:
Percy Jackson’s (Logan Lerman) life is far from perfect. He’s dyslexic, suffers from ADHD and his mom (Catherine Keener) is married to an asshole. And then Percy finds out that his father is the god Poseidon, his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is a satyr and his teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur. But that’s only the start of his adventures since Zeus’ (Sean Bean) lightning bolt was stolen – and everyone thinks it was Percy who did it.

The movie is fun, especially because of the supporting cast. But there are also a lot of infuriating things going on there: plot holes about 3 miles wide, Chris Columbus and the fact that the culprit was known 2 seconds after his first appearance. Still, it was definitely much better than Cirque du Freak.

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Seven Pounds (2008)

Seven Pounds, unfortunately, is pretty bad. I expected something along the lines of The Pursuit of Happiness, which was a sweet, well-acted tear-jerker. Unfortunately, what I got was a movie that was so illogical and predictable that all the emotion was drained right out of it. A good cast absolutely wasted.

Plot:
Ben Thomas wants to atone. Therefore, he looks for seven complete strangers and changes their lives for the better. But why does he do it and how does he do it? Guess.

seven-pounds-poster

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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