My Cousin Rachel (2017)

My Cousin Rachel
Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Roger Michell
Based on: Daphne du Maurier‘s novel
Cast: Rachel WeiszSam ClaflinHolliday GraingerIain GlenPierfrancesco FavinoSimon Russell Beale
Seen on: 18.9.2017

Philip (Sam Claflin) was brought up by his cousin Ambrose who recently died after going to Italy. There he got married to a distant cousin but things seem to have taken a wrong turn and Philip received a letter from Ambrose claiming that he was being slowly killed by his wife. Philip determines to avenge Ambrose, a plan that get substantially easier when Ambrose’ widow Rachel (Rachel Weisz) announces coming to visit Philip. That Rachel is entirely different from what Philip imagined and he finds himself enchanted.

The film is a mixed bag of beans. Despite many strengths, it loses itself in the last third. But it did keep me watching attentively for most of the film.

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Their Finest (2016)

Their Finest
Director: Lone Scherfig
Writer: Gaby Chiappe
Based on: Lissa Evans‘ novel Their Finest Hour and a Half
Cast: Gemma ArtertonSam ClaflinBill NighyRichard E. GrantHenry GoodmanRachael StirlingJack HustonAmanda RootEddie MarsanHelen McCroryJeremy Irons
Seen on: 19.7.2017

It’s the middle of World War II, times are tough and Catrin (Gemma Arterton) needs a job as her husband Ellis (Jack Huston), an artist, doesn’t make enough money to keep them afloat. She gets hired as a scriptwriter for propaganda films and quickly gets saddled with the task of writing the supposedly unimportant women’s dialogue. When she hears about a story about two young women who participated in the Dunkirk evacuation, she brings the idea for an entire film – which makes her co-author to Tom (Sam Claflin) and handler to the aging star Ambrose (Bill Nighy).

Their Finest is a beautiful, fantastic film that touches on many things, but most of all it pulls on heartstrings in the perfect way.

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Me Before You (2016)

Me Before You
Director: Thea Sharrock
Writer: Jojo Moyes
Based on: Jojo Moyesnovel
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam ClaflinJenna ColemanMatthew Lewis, Stephen Peacocke, Vanessa KirbyBen Lloyd-Hughes, Samantha Spiro, Brendan Coyle, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, Joanna Lumley
Seen on: 2.7.2016

Lou (Emilia Clarke) loves fashion, her life, people in general, her family in particular and her job at the café. But when that café is shut down, Lou finds herself at a loss. She needs to find another job to help support her family but her options are very limited. That’s when she hears of a job with the local rich family, the Traynors. Camilla (Janet McTeer) is looking for a caretaker for her son Will (Sam Claflin) who was paralyzed from the neck down in an accident and she sees something in Lou that she hopes will give Will some of his joie de vivre back. A plan that initially seems to fail miserably.

Me Before You is a cheesy film, filled with romance and romanticization, quirky characters and grand gestures. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re probably going to be very happy with it.


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The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

The Huntsman: Winter’s War
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Writer: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Craig Mazin
Prequel/sequel to: Snow White and the Huntsman
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith, Alexandra Roach, Sope Dirisu, Sam Hazeldine, Sam Claflin, Sophie Cookson, Colin Morgan
Seen on: 23.4.2016

Together with many other children Eric (Chris Hemsworth) was drafted/enslaved in the army of Ice Queen Freya (Emily Blunt), Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron) sister. For Freya, who was disappointed in love herself, the most important rule was that there would be no feelings, especially no love, between the children or anybody else for that matter. Despite that, Eric fell in love with Sara (Jessica Chastain), a fellow warrior. Things did not end well. Now many years later, Eric finds himself facing Freya once more after he is charged by King William (Sam Claflin) to bring the dead Ravenna’s magic mirror to a safe space because it is making Snow White dangerously ill.

Snow White and the Huntsman was a spectacular failure, laying the bar very low for The Huntsman: Winter’s War. The film steps easily over that low bar, surpassing expectations. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a high-flying success. But at least Huntsman is way more entertaining than Snow White.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Peter Craig, Danny Strong
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel (the second half)
Sequel to: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour HoffmanJulianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson, Mahershala Ali, Jeffrey Wright, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie
Seen on: 22.11.2015

Plot [with Spoilers for everything up until this part]:
Still reeling from brainwashed Peeta’s (Josh Hutcherson) attack on her, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has no chance of really gathering herself. Instead she shoots promo videos for the rebellion and their cause. As outright war with the Capitol becomes ever more likely, Katniss decides that she has to put an end to things and the only way it will end is if Katniss kills President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

My expectations were pretty low for this final installation in the series since the second half of the last book was the weakest part of the series by far and that was the only thing that was left to bring to the screen. But Mockingjay Part 2 turned out to be better than I expected.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Peter Craig, Danny Strong
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel (the first half at least)
Sequel to: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour HoffmanJulianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson, Mahershala Ali, Jeffrey Wright, Natalie Dormer

After the dramatic ending of the last Hunger Games, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) wakes up in the rebels’ headquarters in District 13. She discovers that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) did not make it there – he was captured by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol. But with Katniss are Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and her family (Willow Shields, Paula Malcomson) – who made it out of District 12 right before it was completely obliterated – and a few other Hunger Game victors. While Katniss tries to make sense of the new world order around her, the rebels try to convince her that she should become the Mockingjay: the official symbol of the rebellion.

Mockingjay Part 1 was a very satisfying film, but it did leave me worried for Part 2, since there is not much left of the story that still worked for me in the book. But we’re not there yet, and this film, despite the occasional lengths, does very well.

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Love, Rosie (2014)

Love, Rosie
Director: Christian Ditter
Writer: Juliette Towhidi
Based on: Cecelia Ahern‘s novel Where Rainbows End
Cast: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Suki Waterhouse, Tamsin Egerton, Art Parkinson, Christian Cooke

Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin) have always been best friends, so the thought that they might be in love with each other seems extremely weird. But every once in a while both have to think about it – only never at the same time. And every time either of them find themselves in love with the other, life just seems to have something completely different in mind for them. But despite all the very different developments in their lives, they keep coming back to each other.

Love, Rosie is exactly what you’d expect from a Cecilia Ahern-based RomCom. That is to say, prepare for romance, sweetness and tears and if you don’t think too hard about it, you’ll leave the cinema completely satisfied.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Sequel to: The Hunger Games
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour Hoffman, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson

Plot (with SPOILERS for the first one):
With the way the Hunger Games ended Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has definitely upset the system. So before she, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and their entourage travel from district to district on their victory tour, Katniss gets a visit from President Snow (Donald Sutherland). He lets her know without a doubt that rebellion of any kind on her part will not be tolerated – and that she has to make this clear to the districts as well, where unrest is brewing. Since it’s not only Katniss’ life that he threatens, but also that of her family and friends, Katniss complies as well as she can. And then the rug is completely pulled from under her when she and Peeta are drawn back into the 75 year special edition of the Games.

Where the second book was slightly worse than the first book, I thought that the second film was even better than the first. It’s a fantastic sequel, great adaptation and a wonderful film.


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Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman
Director: Rupert Sanders
Writer: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini
Based on: the Snow White fairy tale
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson, Vincent Regan

10 years ago, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) killed the good king, imprisoned his daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and took over the kingdom with her evil magic. But now that Snow White turned 18, she managed to escape her imprisonment. Since Ravenna desperately needs Snow White’s youth and beauty for her own magic, she sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) after her. But soon he rather joins Snow White in her fight against Ravenna.

Snow White and the Huntsman is the kind of film that opens with an apple tree in full bloom and ripe apples at the same time which tells you everything you need to know about the film: it puts style so high over substance that it leaves all logic far, far behind. Which would have been okay, if it wasn’t also incredibly boring.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth Pirates movie, directed by Rob Marshall, written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, starring Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Keith Richards and a mini-cameo by Judi Dench.

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) arrives in England only to find out that he’s apparently been recruiting sailors. He quickly finds that Angelica (Penélope Cruz), who he has met in the past, has been posing as himself to find sailors for the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s (Ian McShane) ship. They are trying to find the Fountain of Youth. Against his will, Sparrow ends up on the mission, followed by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who was sent by the English king to find the Fountain himself but who also still has an open tab with Blackbeard.

I thought Pirates of the Caribbean was really a lot of fun. It’s pretty mindless, doesn’t make much sense when you think about it and the 3D really sucked, but it still ended up very entertaining.

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