Fathers & Daughters (2015)

Fathers & Daughters
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Writer: Brad Desch
Cast: Russell CroweAmanda SeyfriedAaron PaulDiane KrugerQuvenzhané WallisBruce GreenwoodJanet McTeerKylie RogersJane FondaOctavia Spencer
Seen on: 17.6.2016

Plot:
Jake Davis (Russell Crowe) is an award-winning writer with a lovely daughter, Katie (Kylie Rogers). But after his wife dies, he falls apart. While he tries to get better in a psychiatric facility, Katie goes to live with her aunt Elizabeth (Diane Kruger) and uncle William (Bruce Greenwood). Even after Jake returns, things are far from easy.
Many years later, Katie (Amanda Seyfried) works as a counselor for kids like Lucy (Quvenzhané Wallis), even though she obviously has many issues of her own. When she meets Cameron (Aaron Paul), those issues might destroy everything.

I had little to no expectations regarding Fathers & Daughters, but I was still taken aback by it. It is perfectly obvious why this move tanked as much as it did. It probably should have tanked more.

fathersanddaughters

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The Nice Guys (2016)

The Nice Guys
Director: Shane Black
Writer: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCostaTy Simpkins, Keith David, Kim Basinger
Seen on: 7.6.2016

Plot:
Holland March (Ryan Gosling) was hired to look into the death of porn star Misty Mountains – or rather the possibility that she isn’t dead after all. His investigation leads him to Amelia (Margaret Qualley), but Amelia really doesn’t want to be investigated. So she hires Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) to hammer that point home and get Holland to stay away. But then Amelia disappears and Jackson suspects foul play, so he decides to team up with Holland to figure out what happened.

The Nice Guys had a lot of potential and some very funny moments, but also quite a few things that did make me a little uncomfortable, especially its treatment of women. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t love it.

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Noah (2014)

Noah
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Based on: the bible and other religious/mythological texts
Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Nick Nolte, Mark Margolis, Kevin Durand, Marton Csokas

Plot:
Cain’s descendants industrialized and ravaged the earth, while Seth’s descendants try and live a harmonious life with nature. Noah (Russell Crowe) is one of the latter and he and his family are the last ones.That’s when God sends Noah a message: he will send a big flood to renew the Earth and only Noah, his family and the animals of the earth are supposed to survive. But Cain’s descendants, led by Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) don’t think much of that plan.

I was serisouly let down by Noah. I’ve loved Aronofsky’s work so far but this film is not only boring over long stretches, it shows severe misogyny.

noah[SPOILERS]

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Winter’s Tale (2014)

Winter’s Tale
Director: Akiva Goldsman
Writer: Akiva Goldsman
Based on: Mark Helprin‘s novel
Cast: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, William HurtJennifer Connelly, Kevin Corrigan, Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths, Scott GrimesKevin Durand, Graham Greene, Will Smith

Plot:
Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) didn’t have it easy in his life so far. He’s an orphan who didn’t go through the best part of the system and ended up living with and working for Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) as a thief. When the two of them have a falling out, Peter runs, aided by a mysterious and magical horse, and ends up robbing Beverly Penn’s (Jessica Brown Findlay) place. But only until he sees her: Peter immediately falls for her. But Beverly is dying and only a miracle could save her. A miracle Peter might just have in himself.

I don’t think I read one good word about Winter’s Tale and I do understand why. The film has issues. But nevertheless I really enjoyed it, sometimes in the way the movie intended and sometimes laughing about the film.

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Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: David S. Goyer
Based on: Jerry Siegel‘s and Joe Shuster‘s comics chararcter
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Antje Traue, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Christopher Meloni, Kevin Costner, Ayelet Zurer, Laurence Fishburne, Tahmoh Penikett (for about five seconds)
Part of: DC movies

Plot:
The planet Krypton is dying. Jor-El (Russell Crowe) tries to convince their leaders to save their race by exploring space, when Zod (Michael Shannon) stages a coup. In desperation, Jor-El and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) send their son Kal-El towards Earth on his own, just with a data stick that contains the most important info about their people. Kal-El manages the voyage, while Zod’s rebellion is subdued and they are sentenced to imprisonment just before Krypton is finally destroyed.
Kal-El grows up to be Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), son of Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane) who happens to have superpowers on Earth. But Jonathan cautions him to keep that side of him hidden for fear of what humanity will do to him. And Clark does, until Zod catches up with him.

When the trailers for this film came out, I started to become cautiously optimistic that maybe we’d get a Superman movie that doesn’t suck (the first since the Christopher Reeve movies started to spin out of control [don’t worry, babies, I love you anyway]). I shouldn’t have bothered getting my hopes up.

Man-of-Steel

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Broken City (2013)

Broken City
Director: Allen Hughes
Writer: Brian Tucker
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal, Natalie Martinez, Michael Beach, Kyle Chandler, James Ransone, Griffin Dunne

Plot:
Billy (Mark Wahlberg) is a policeman who shot a rapist who went free. During his trial where he claims self-defence, new evidence comes up but is quickly surpressed by Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) and Comissioner Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright). Despite being found not guilty, Billy is let go and earns his money by doing investigation work from then on. Years later in the middle of election time, Hostetler contacts him again to have him investigate his wife Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones). But there’s apparently more to the story than just mere infidelity.

Broken City was a decent thriller but nothing that really blew me away, apart from Russell Crowe who obviously had fun with this one. The characters are a little too clichéd to work, the story is unfocused and all of that leaves you a little dissatisfied.

broken_city

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Les Misérables (2012)

Les Misérables
Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: William Nicholson, Herbert Kretzmer
Based on: Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg‘s musical which is in turn based on Victor Hugo‘s novel
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, Daniel Huttlestone, Isabelle Allen, Colm Wilkinson

Plot:
Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) has just been released on parole after years in the galleys for stealing some bread. Police inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) doesn’t really want to see him go as he doesn’t trust in his rehabilitation. And he almost seems to be right – as Valjean takes the frist chance he gets to steal from a priest (Colm Wilkinson). But when said priest shows him mercy, Valjean takes the chance to build a life for himself, though skipping parole. Years later, he is a successful factory owner and mayor, when Javert comes to his town. At the same time, Valejan gets drawn into the life of one of his factory employees, Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and her little daughter Cosette (Isabelle Allen/Amanda Seyfried) and decides to help her.

Les Misérables is pretty epic, as can only be expected from a musical based on a Hugo novel. And while the cast mostly does very well with the epicness, neither Tom Hooper nor cinematographer Danny Cohen were up for the task.

les-miserables

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Robin Hood (2010)

Robin Hood is Ridley Scott‘s newest movie, starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Mark Addy, Matthew Macfadyen, Scott Grimes and Kevin Durand.

Plot:
King Richard Lionheart (Danny Huston) has been on his crusade for many years and is on his way home now. Unfortunately, he never reaches Britain, dying instead in one last battle.
In his army is the archer Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), who by coincidence stumbles upon a massive conspiracy against Richard, led by Godfrey (Mark Strong), a confidant of Prince John (Oscar Isaac), but ultimately also plotting against John.
Anyway, Longstride takes on the identity of Robert Loxley and they story only gets more convoluted from there.

I hadn’t heard anything good about this movie beforehand (the most positive “review” was from a co-worker who said, “I expected it to be really bad and with that expectation, it was reasonably entertaining”), so I didn’t expect much (even though I’m one of the five people on earth who actually like Gladiator). But even so, I was incredibly disappointed. This movie is not only bad, no, even more damingly, it is boring as hell.

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I Don’t Want to Believe, Thanks.

Yesterday’s exciting cinematical evening brought us The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

I was never a real fan of the X-Files, so don’t expect me to get all the obscure references and comment on them (although I could hear deadra squeal every time there was a more or less obscure reference). Why I went to see it anyway? Because deadra wanted to see it (and it’s gonna be “my” movie today) and because I heard that it worked pretty well without the TV show and was a solid thriller.

Well, it’s not. The story line is stretched thin, thinner, the thinnest and was just plain boring. The acting was okay, mostly, but nothing outstanding. It would pass as a mediocre film, if it wasn’t for bad cliché after cliché thrust upon us, sprinkled with some phobias to make for that special bad taste.

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All-but-Irish Men in Ireland and Non-American Cowboys

P.S. I Love You was exactly as it should be: wonderful. Funny and sad and full of gorgeous guys. I mean, I knew Gerard Butler was hot, but then getting Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a bonus was perfect. The only thing a little weird was that it was set in New York. K. said that it’s an Hollywood law that RomComs can only play in NY but honestly, the ending seemed a little strained because of that. I can only assume that Hilary Swank can’t fake an Irish accent. Interestingly enough, neither Gerard Butler nor Jeffrey Dean Morgan are from Ireland (GB: Glasgow and JDM: Seattle). At least for someone like me (non-english-native and never been to Ireland), their Irish accents were very believable.
Richard LaGravenese brought us a perfect chick flick. (This time there’s not too much pathos as in Horse Whisperer or the we’ve-all-seen-that-before effect from Freedom Writers…)
K. will lend me the book tomorrow, can’t wait to read it.

Before I start talking about 3:10 to Yuma, a little disclaimer: I was never a Western fan. I never watched the classics and am not that interested to do so in the future. Therefore, I might lack a little understanding for the genre and the cultere within. But the ending just left me puzzled.
(Warning, spoiler ahead!)
Why the hell did Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) help Dan Evans (Christian Bale) in the end? I mean, you are in the middle of strangling someone then he tells you he’s never been a hero but can’t let his kids know and suddenly you stop and make him a hero? That just doesn’t really make sense to me.
(Spoiler end.)
Maybe, apart from a lack of understanding for Westerns, I also have a severe lack of testosterone to understand them anyway.
K., who has a profound education in Spaghetti-Westerns, told me that it cited a lot of movies (like exploding horses and the such). Therefore, it gets a little more credit but altogether there was too much “huh?” for me.
Things I enjoyed about it: Well, watching Christian Bale (looks and talent) and Russell Crowe (looks and I know there is some talent buried deep down somewhere) is always a treat. Luke Wilson‘s brief appearance (not necessarily because of him but because of the whole scene). Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk‘s character). Ben Foster‘s acting (seriously, this guy knows how to act. 10 minutes in the movie and I already thought: Psycho! Judging from his performance in X-Men: The Last Stand I wouldn’t have thought that possible).
Interesting: Neither Christian Bale nor Russell Crowe are Americans (CB: somewhere in Wales and Russell Crowe: Wellington [New Zealand, damn, I thought he was from Australia… It’s probably good, he’ll never read this blog…]).
The whole thing is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard who I thought I didn’t know and K. mistook for some other writer. A little research shows: not only have I seen movies which were written by him or based on one of his novels (Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Out of Sight) but I actually have a book by him (Mr. Paradise). I can only excuse this by blaming, first, the size of my private library and second, the fact that I haven’t read it yet and third, that I am a bad human being.

I’m sorry that this isn’t very coherent but there are really many things worth noting in this film and it’s one of those which get better the more you think about it. I really enjoyed everything up to the ending, I think it was beautifully done (but James Mangold already proved himself before so that was no suprise) and well played. It didn’t shrink from the violence nor did they have to show everything in all gory details. But I’m no Western fan and this film won’t change my mind. Maybe I will understand the ending someday but until then I’m afraid it’s number three of worst Christian Bale movies (Number 2 being Reign of Fire and Number 1: American Psycho [so much potential – great book, great actor – just going to waste]). I’d only recommend it to male Western fans.