The Death of Stalin (2017)

The Death of Stalin
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writer: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows
Based on: Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin’s graphic novel La Mort de Staline
Cast: Adrian McLoughlin, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Brooke, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Andrea Riseborough
Seen on: 11.4.2018

Plot:
1953 in Moscow. Josef Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) has been in power for decades. But now he suddenly dies, leaving a power vacuum that demands to be filled. His right hand men, the Council of Ministers, try to strike the balance between appearing to grieve, not panicking and grabbing for power. Lavrentia Beria (Simon Russell Beale) and Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) quickly become the heads of the biggest two camps in that fight.

I wanted to like The Death of Stalin more than I actually did. It’s well made, of that there’s no doubt, but I was partly very uncomfortable about the jokes they cracked that I felt made light of things nobdy should make light of.

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Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

Hitman: Agent 47
Director: Aleksander Bach
Writer: Skip Woods, Michael Finch
Based on: the video game series
Cast: Rupert FriendHannah WareZachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann, Angelababy, Jürgen Prochnow
Seen on: 10.9.2015

Plot:
Many years ago Dr. Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds) built the Agent Program: gentetically modified hitmen without remorse or fear. Realizing how dangerous this is, Litvenko disappeared, taking the science with him and making it impossible to create any more Agents. The Syndicate has been trying everything to restart the Program, but was unsuccessful. Now they’re desperate to find Litvenko. Litvenko’s daughter Katia (Hannah Ware) is also desperate to find her father and find out why he abandoned her. Just as she’s getting close, she meets John Smith (Zachary Quinto) who warns her that Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) is tracking her with orders to kill her.

I did not expect Hitman: Agent 47 to be a good film. In fact, it was the kind of film where puzzledpeaces and I packed a bottle of alcohol eached and just got really, really drunk during the film. For that it was perfectly chosen. For everything else, Hitman is a waste.

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The Zero Theorem (2013)

The Zero Theorem
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Pat Rushin
Cast: Christoph Waltz, Lucas HedgesDavid ThewlisMélanie ThierryMatt DamonGwendoline ChristieRupert FriendRay CooperLily ColeSanjeev BhaskarPeter StormareBen WhishawTilda Swinton

Plot:
Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) works as an entity cruncher for a huge corporation. The hours away from home are torture for Qohen as he is waiting for a call, so he has been trying to convince the corporation that he could work from home. When his supervisor Joby (David Thewlis) tells him that Management (Matt Damon) will be at his party, Qohen decides that he has to go there and talk to him. And he actually succeeds in that plan and a little while later, he starts working on the Zero Theorem from home.

Gilliam knows how to make a world look cool and a film look pretty. The cast is wonderful, too. Other than that though, the film is a boring, sexist mess.

the-zero-theorem

 

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The Young Victoria (2009)

The Young Victoria was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, written by Julian Fellowes and stars Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson and Thomas Kretschmann.

Plot:
The movie tells the story of how Victoria became Queen Victoria and how she met her husband, Prince Albert.
Victoria (Emily Blunt) is the niece of the current King of England. Since she’s the only child of that generation, she’s going to inherit the throne. Her mother (Miranda Richardson), under the influence of Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong), tries to make her sign over the regency, which Victoria succesfully resists. But her mother is not the only one who wants to influence Victoria: Her uncle, the King of England (Jim Broadbent), sends her Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) as a political advisor and her other uncle, the King of Belgium (Thomas Kretschmann), sends her his nephew Albert (Rupert Friend) as a potential husband.

The movie is wonderful. I mean, of course it’s a kitsch-fest, but it’s a beautiful, well-acted kitsch-fest that hits all the right notes and manages to stay mostly historically accurate. What’s not to like?

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Chéri (2009)

Chéri is the movie adaptation of the book (and it’s sequel) by Colette. It was directed by Stephen Frears and stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend and Kathy Bates.

Plot:
Belle Epoque in France. The ageing courtesan Léa (Michelle Pfeiffer) just ended her latest relationship and is considering her lifestyle: Is it really still necessary to do her job? What else would she do? It’s at that point that her best friend Madame Peloux (Kathy Bates) facilitates a meeting between Léa and Peloux’s son, Chéri (Rupert Friend). Chéri kind of ambles through life and doesn’t really know what to do with himself. His mother thinks that a relationship between him and Léa should be part of his education. And even though Lea is that much older than Chéri, things seem to work out perfectly.

Chéri surprised me. I didn’t expect much (I seem to have read only the bad reviews) but I got a delightful film with wonderful Wilde-esque dialogue, perfect performances, beautiful costumes and a great score (by Alexandre Desplat). It may not be the movie of the year, but it’s really good.

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