Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher L. Yost
Based on: Stan Lee‘s, Larry Lieber‘s and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Sequel to: Thor, Thor: The Dark World
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom HiddlestonMark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Taika Waititi, Rachel House, Clancy Brown, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Matt Damon, Ken Watanabe
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 4.11.2017
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Plot:
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is fighting to prevent Ragnarok – the end of the world. Having successfully defeated the demon Surtur, he returns to Asgard, only to find Loki (Tom Hiddleston) posing as their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). After having located the real Odin, he tells Thor and Loki that Ragnarok is still coming: the real threat is their sister Hela (Cate Blanchett). It doesn’t take long for Hela to appear and show how much of a threat she really is.

Thor: Ragnarok is probably the best Marvel film to date. It’s entertaining, full of queer (and also straight) aesthetics and had me in literal tears it’s so funny. It’s absolutely lovely.

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Sweet Country (2017)

Sweet Country
Director: Warwick Thornton
Writer: Steven McGregor, David Tranter
Cast: Hamilton Morris, Tremayne Doolan, Natassia Gorey Furber, Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, Ewen Leslie, Thomas M. Wright
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2017
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Plot:
Aboriginee Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris) has been working as a farmhand for Fred Smith (Sam Neill) for a long time and Fred is kind to him, his wife and niece – or at least he’s a better master than the other white people around them. But when Fred travels and their new neighbor (Ewen Leslie), a drunk and cruel man, takes advantage of the situation and attacks them, Sam ends up shooting him. Even though it was self-defense, Sam knows that the white men will come for him – and he takes off into the desert.

Sweet Country chose an interesting topic and setting for its story, but it nevertheless didn’t really work for me. It felt too long and clichéd for that.

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Taika Waititi, Te Arepa Kahi
Based on: Barry Crump‘s novel Wild Pork and Watercress
Cast: Sam NeillJulian DennisonRima Te WiataRachel HouseTioreore Ngatai-MelbourneOscar KightleyStan WalkerMike MinogueCohen HollowayRhys DarbyTroy Kingi, Taika Waititi
Seen on: 25.8.2017
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Plot:
Ricky (Julian Dennison) has been moving from foster family to foster family, getting in trouble. As a last resort, he’s being sent to the country to stay with Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hector (Sam Neill). And to all of their surprise, especially Ricky’s, he starts to feel at home there. That’s when Bella dies very surprisingly. And since she was the driving force behind taking Ricky in, Child Services – in the form of Paula (Rachel House) – decide it would be best to take Ricky away. But Ricky isn’t having it. He runs away. Hector goes after him, and their disappearance kicks off a manhunt that could end very badly.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople was pure sugar and has very funny moments. It’s not perfect, but I enjoyed it a lot.

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In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

In the Mouth of Madness
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Michael De Luca
Cast: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, David Warner, John Glover, Bernie Casey, Peter Jason, Charlton Heston, Frances Bay
Seen on: 21.5.2016

Plot:
The horror writer Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow), so successful he is said to have driven readers to madness, has gone missing and insurance investigator John Trent (Sam Neill) is hired to find out if he is really gone or if it’s a publicity stunt. Together with Cane’s editor (Julie Carmen) he travels to the town where Cane’s books are said to be set – and that seems to not be quite as fictional as they thought at first.

I very much enjoyed In the Mouth of Madness, although it is at times very cheesy. But of all the Carpenter movies I saw, this might be the one I liked the best.

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A Long Way Down (2014)

A Long Way Down
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Writer: Jack Thorne
Based on: Nick Hornby‘s novel
Cast: Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Sam Neill

Plot:
Martin (Pierce Brosnan) decides that he’s had enough. On New Year’s Eve he heads to Topper’s House to throw himself off the roof there. But Topper’s House is a popular spot for suicide and so he meets Jess (Imogen Poots), J.J. (Aaron Paul) and Maureen (Toni Collette) who have had the same plan. Instead of following through, circumstances let’s the four of them make a pact that they’ll wait until Valentine’s Day with it.

A Long Way Down is sweet, even if a little inconsequential. But it does have its heart in the right place.

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Escape Plan (2013)

Escape Plan
Director: Mikael Håfström
Writer: Miles Chapman, Jason Keller
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Faran Tahir, Amy Ryan , Sam Neill, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, 50 Cent

Plot:
Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) works as a security consultant, basically: it’s his job to test prison security system by getting incarcerated and then breaking out. But his newest assignment doesn’t go as planned. He gets taken differently than agreed on, he finds himself facing the sadistic warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) instead of the person who knew about his real identity and the prison seems impossible to break out of. But at least he finds support for his breakout plans in fellow prisoner Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Escape Plan has all the markings of a craptastic film. And parts of it are as shitmazing as I expected them to be. But unfortunately I found myself pretty bored during most of the film despite that.

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Daybreakers (2009)

Daybreakers is the newest movie by Michael and Peter Spierig, starring Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Claudia Karvan and Michael Dorman.

Plot:
10 years into the future and vampires have pretty much taken over the world. Humans are a minority – and hunted, since the vampires are slowly running out of blood. Edward (Ethan Hawke) works at a research company headed by Charles Bromley (Sam Neill) and tries to develop synthetic blood, unsuccessfully so far. Edward is not only motivated by the fear that they’re all going to starve but also by compassion with the humans, wishing he could become one again himself. So when he stumbles upon human Audrey (Claudia Karvan) and a small resistance, he decides to help.

Daybreakers is an inconsistent affair: On the one hand there’s really good world building, on the other the plot is completely predictable and populated by stock characters. On the one hand the special effects are quite good, on the other the constant blue filter was tiring. The premise (despite one serious flaw*) is interesting, but in the end the execution is too conventional.

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is Zack Snyder‘s first animated movie based on Kathryn Lasky‘s novels and stars the voices of Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, David Wenham, Anthony LaPaglia, Abbie Cornish and Ryan Kwanten.

Plot:
Soren (Jim Sturgess) and his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) are two owls almost ready to leave their nests. Inspired by their attempts to fly, they want to practice more after their parents left for the nightly hunt and promptly fall down the tree. Before they can figure out a way back up, they are snatched up by two owls who bring them to the “True Bloods”*, a group of basically Nazi Owls who abduct young owls to build an army and to harvest something they call flecks; metal flakes that seem to have a magical (and very adverse) effect on owls. While Kludd embraces the True Bloods’ ideology, Soren makes a desperate attempt to find the legendary Guardians of Ga’Hoole: warrior owls sworn to protect other owls.

The movie has a good plot and nice, if a little stereotypical characters (nothing too bad). But most of all, it’s visually absolutely stunning. Here’s a movie that’s actually worth to see in 3D.

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