The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Director: Patrick Hughes
Writer: Tom O’Connor
Cast: Ryan ReynoldsSamuel L. JacksonSalma HayekElodie YungRichard E. GrantGary OldmanSam Hazeldine, Joaquim de Almeida
Seen on: 6.9.2017
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Plot:
Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) used to be the best bodyguard/security manager in the business. That is, until he lost a client in the worst way. Now he’s relegated to small projects with clients of no importance. Which is exactly why his ex-girlfriend Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) contacts him: she’s charged with delivering assassin Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) to the International Court in The Hague to testify, but they’ve run into serious trouble and Amelia doesn’t know who else she can trust anymore. But Michael and Darius have an incredibly tense history that they now have to put aside to work together.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is pretty entertaining, albeit not unbelievably great. It has its moments and its weaknesses, but mostly it’s fun.

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Il racconto dei racconti [Tale of Tales] (2015)

Il racconto dei racconti
Director: Matteo Garrone
Writer: Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso
Based on: Giambattista Basile‘s fairy tale collection
Cast: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Hayley Carmichael, Bebe Cave, Stacy Martin, Christian Lees, Jonah Lees
Seen on: 2.9.2015

Plot:
The Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek) is desperate to have a child with her husband (John C. Reilly). But so far, all their attempts were unsuccessful. Yet another magical attempt finally brings the wished-for results, but at a price. In the meantime the King of Strongcliff (Vincent Cassel) has pretty much fucked everyone around him. But when he hears the sweet singing of a maid, he immediately falls in love. Only that the girl doesn’t want to show herself. In a third kingdom, the King of Highhills (Toby Jones) has a rather unusual pet that takes away his attention from his daughter Violet (Bebe Cave) who is waiting to be married.

Il racconto dei racconti is an adaptation of 17th century fairy tales and as one can imagine, things are not necessarily for the faint of heart, nor are they very friendly to women. But Garrone crafted an entertaining, visually stunning film from them in any case.

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Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Muppets Most Wanted
Director: James Bobin
Writer: James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller
Based on: Jim Henson‘s characters
Sequel to: The Muppets
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey
Cameos by [put in camouflage so you can still be surprised by the people who show up, if you don’t know already. If you wanna be surprised, don’t read the tags, either]: Tony Bennett, Hugh Bonneville, Jemaine Clement, Sean Combs, Rob Corddry, Mackenzie Crook, Céline DionLady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Tom HiddlestonTom Hollander, Toby Jones, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, James McAvoy, Chloë Grace Moretz, Usher Raymond, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Til Schweiger, Russell Tovey, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci, Christoph Waltz

Plot:
After solving their problems in the last film, the Muppets hit a bit of a low. They don’t really know what they should do now. That’s when Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) shows up and proposes a world tour to them. Kermit is hesitant but the others are in love with the idea. But Badguy has ulterior motives – he is teamed up with the most evil frog in the world, Constantine. And for his plan to work, Constantine impersonates Kermit while banishing the real Kermit to a Russian gulag.

I think I liked Muppets Most Wanted a little better than the first Muppets film. Maybe I’m starting to have more of a connection to the Muppets themselves. (There are so many Muppets in this paragraph alone. Muppets. Muppets. Muppets.) Either way, there is not much of a quality difference between this one and the first one.

muppetsmostwanted

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Across the Universe (2007)

Across the Universe
Director: Julie Taymor
Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
Based on: Songs by The Beatles
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther, T.V. Carpio, Harry Lennix, Logan Marshall-Green, Eddie Izzard, Bono, Joe Cocker, Salma Hayek

Plot:
Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a working guy from Liverpool who takes a chance to go to the USA to find his father. And he does find him, but more importantly he also finds Max (Joe Anderson) and his sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). While Max is drafted into the Vietnam war, Lucy and Jude try to build a life for themselves in New York. But things aren’t always easy.

I thought that I would like Across the Universe much better than I did. I mean, a musical based on Beatles songs, directed by Julie Taymor? Hells yes. But unfortunately the whole thing is hit and miss; missing especially a strong male lead.

AcrosstheUniverse

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Savages (2012)

Savages
Director: Oliver Stone
Writer: Shane Salerno, Don Winslow, Oliver Stone
Based on: Don Winslow’s novel
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Emile Hirsch, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson) are best friends and successful drug dealers. They live with O (Blake Lively), the girlfriend of them both. They just received an off for a take-over/partnership from Elena (Salma Hayek), a drug baron from Mexico who is struggling a bit in her position of power. When Chon and Ben don’t plan on taking her up on the offer, Elena has her henchman Lado (Benicio Del Toro) kidnap O. And Ben and Chon will do anything to get her back.

Savages is one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen. And I really do mean ever, fully aware that I have seen Troll 2. It squanders a cast that is not that bad on a script written by people who should be forbidden from so much as looking at a pen or keyboard ever again in the future.

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Re-Watch: The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, Laura Harris, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Jon Stewart, Piper Laurie, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth, Usher Raymond, Daniel von Bargen

Plot:
Something weird is going on in Herrington High School, Ohio. Even weirder than the usual high school occurrences, that is: aliens are slowly taking over the teachers, starting with the football coach (Robert Patrick). But a group of teenagers notice that something weird is going on: nerdy Casey (Elijah Wood), gothy Stokely (Clea DuVall), jock Stan (Shawn Hatosy), cheerleader Delilah (Jordana Brewster), bad boy Zeke (Josh Hartnett) and country girl Marybeth (Laura Harris) get thrown together by circumstances and decide to fight.

I think I saw The Faculty the first time when I was 14, maybe 15. Until then I hadn’t had much contact with horror in general (though I probably had read a Stephen King novel or two), but I knew high school movies. And in its combination of High School and Horror, The Faculty proved to be my gateway drug into the entire horror genre (arguably also because I was madly in love with Josh Hartnett’s Zeke afterwards). I love it for that. But also as a movie in its own right, it’s pretty damn awesome.

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The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Director: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt
Writer: Gideon Defoe
Based on: Gideon Defoe‘s The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists
Cast: Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Piven, Brian Blessed, Lenny Henry, Salma Hayek

Plot:
Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) dreams of the Pirate of the Year Award but doesn’t really stand a chance. In a desperate last attempt, he starts to board every ship he and his faithful band come past, hoping for one big loot that would make all the difference. And so it happens that he also boards the ship of Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Darwin discovers that Pirate Captain’s parrot is actually a dodo and promises him great riches if he came to the London science fair. And so Pirate Captain and his crew make their way to London, despite Queen Victoria’s (Imelda Staunton) hatred of pirates.

The Pirates! was brilliant in very many details and not brilliant at all in others. Overall it didn’t really come together to form one coherent whole, though it was enjoyable.

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Puss in Boots (2011)

Puss in Boots
Director: Chris Miller
Writer:  Tom Wheeler, David H. Steinberg, Brian Lynch, Jon Zack
Based on: Charles Perrault‘s character and the Shrek movies to which it is a prequel
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris, Guillermo del Toro

Plot:
Puss (Antonio Banderas) is a talented thief who has set his eyes on the magic beans, currently in the possession of the criminals Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris). But when he tries to steal them, he crosses paths with the mysterious Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek). Kitty is working with Puss’ former best friend Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) who is obsessed with the magic beans – and the goose that lays golden eggs to which the beans lead. And so the three of them throw their lots together to best Jack and Jill.

This movie could and should have been better than it actually was. It was not totally bad but it left me with a vague sense of unfulfilment.

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Americano (2011)

Americano
Director: Mathieu Demy
Writer: Mathieu Demy
Cast: Mathieu Demy, Salma Hayek, Geraldine Chaplin, Carlos Bardem, Chiara Mastroianni
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Martin’s (Mathieu Demy) estranged mother just died, so he travels from France to the USA, where she’s emigrated to years before, to take care of her affairs. Once there, his mother’s friend Linda (Geraldime Chaplin) tries to help him with getting everything in order. But Martin finds out about a Mexican immigrant his mother was close friends with and who she liked a lot. Generally lost in his life, he decides to travel to Mexico to find the (in the meantime deported) Lola (Salma Hayek) to tell her that his mother is dead.

The movie might have worked if it wasn’t for the idiotic script, the clichéd story, the annoying main character… basically, if all of it was Geraldine Chaplin being awesome. Unfortunately that isn’t the case and so the movie ends up being pretty boring.

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Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant is the movie adaptation of the first three books in the Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan. [I reviewed the first book here.] It was directed by Paul Weitz* and stars Chris Massoglia, Josh Hutcherson, Jessica Carlson, John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek, Ken Watanabe, Jane Krakowski and Willem Dafoe.

Plot:
Darren (Chris Massoglia) and Steve (Josh Hutcherson) are best friends. One day, they stumble upon a freak show. When Steve finds out that one of the performers – Mr. Crepsley (John C. Reilly) – is actually a vampire, he asks to be turned. Mr. Crepsley refuses. When through some twists and turns in the story, Darren becomes Mr. Crepsley’s assistant instead, it unhinges Steve completely and things are going to get really rough for Darren.

The movie was rather boring, I have to say. There was some ridiculousness and some enjoyable camp, but altogether, it was just… meh. Sad to see such a good supporting cast wasted.

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