Re-Watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Sequel to: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Sean Bean, Marton Csokas, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, David Wenham, John Noble
Seen on: 6.1.2022

Plot:
Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) have not only to find their way into Mordor, but also to Mount Doom, unnoticed by Sauron, to destroy the One Ring. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) slowly claims his role as King and leads the human army into battle against Sauron to draw his gaze away from the hobbits and the ring. The time of decision draws near.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is my least favorite Lord of the Rings movie and probably the most boring of the three. But it is still a satisfying ending to a trilogy that I continue to love overall (much more than the books, probably).

The film poster showing some of the central characters, most in fighting poses.
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Re-Watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Sequel to: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Bernard Hill, Brad Dourif, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Sean Bean
Seen on: 6.1.2022

Content Note: racism

Plot:
The fellowship of the ring is no more. Sam (Sean Astin) and Frodo (Elijah Wood) are heading towards Mordor with the help of Gollum (Andy Serkis). Meanwhile Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) are chasing after Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) who were taken by orcs under the command of Saruman (Christopher Lee). Things are coming to a head.

The Two Towers does have a couple of blunders that really haven’t aged well, but other than that, it is still an excellent film (though it is only my second favorite in the trilogy).

The film poster showing headshots of the main characters arranged vertically next to a tower.
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Re-Watch: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Sean Bean, Marton Csokas, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving
Seen on: 6.1.2022

Plot:
Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) is an unusual Hobbit in that he actually left the shire to go on an adventure. Now his 111th birthday is approaching and Bilbo feels that it is time to withdraw from the shire. One of his birthday guests is Gandalf (Ian McKellen), a wizard and old friend who suspects that there is something more to Bilbo’s tiredness than his age. Gandalf’s suspicions harden when he sees that Bilbo has a magic ring. He gets Bilbo to leave it to his nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood) before leaving the shire. The end of Bilbo’s adventure is just the beginning of Frodo’s who needs to figure out a way to keep evil forces away from the ring.

It’s been many years that I last watched the Lord of the Rings movies, but given that they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary, I (and a friend) decided to make a day of watching all three movies (extended editions of course) just like we used to do when we were younger. I was afraid that it would be a little disappointing to do so, but really, the movies stand the test of time – especially the first one.

The movie poster showing Frodo (Elijah Wood) front and center, with the other main characers behind him, most in fighting poses. Below him we can see a group of hooded riders.
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Possessor (2020)

Possessor
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Writer: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rossif Sutherland, Gabrielle Graham, Tuppence Middleton, Raoul Bhaneja, Sean Bean
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Content Note: suicide

Plot:
Tasya (Andrea Riseborough) has a very special job: she takes over people’s bodies, using them to fulfill her company’s missions – usually assassinations. It’s a job that doesn’t allow for errors, and it definitely doesn’t allow its operatives to lose sight of who they are. But Tasya has had some troubles recently, and her new job – taking over Colin (Christopher Abbott) – might be more than she can handle.

Possessor has a really good concept and came with some accolades, but ultimately I’m afraid that I expected a little more than it delivered. Which doesn’t mean that it isn’t an engaging and thoughtful film worth your time.

The film poster showing somebody wearing a mask that looks like a melted face and holding a knife.
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The Martian (2015)

The Martian
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Drew Goddard
Based on: Andy Weir’s novel
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica ChastainMichael PeñaKate MaraSebastian StanAksel HennieChiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Benedict Wong, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover
Seen on: 12.10.2015

Plot:
Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is one of five astronauts who come to Mars on a rather routine mission. But then things start going wrong and they have to leave – only that Mark gets injured and to his colleagues he looks like he’s dead. With a heavy heart, they decide to leave without him. But Mark survives miraculously. Now he’s alone. On Mars. With very limited supplies. And a broken communication system. And he only has himself to make his supplies last long enough so that he may be rescued.

Since I really loved the novel the film is based on and the previews I saw for the movie looked great, my expectations for the Martian were pretty high. So when I say that the movie totally fulfilled my expectations, you know that this is high praise indeed.

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Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Jupiter Ascending
Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Writer: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Cast: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Christina Cole, Maria Doyle Kennedy, David Ajala, Doona Bae, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, James D’Arcy, Terry Gilliam
Seen on: 10.02.2015

Plot:
Jupiter (Mila Kunis) and her mother (Maria Doyle Kennedy) work as cleaners for rich people. Russian immigrants themselves, they can only dream of the riches they are cleaning. But there is something about Jupiter that catches the attention of some very powerful people who are not from earth. Former soldier and wolf/human hybrid Caine (Channing Tatum) is only one of a few people trying to get Jupiter. But he makes it his mission to protect Jupiter, whatever may come. And so Jupiter finds herself whisked from earth and crowned space royalty – and that’s only the beginning of the adventure.

I went into Jupiter Ascending armed with vodka and about 50 extremely negative reviews at the back of my head, expecting the worst. And it is true that it is not a particularly good film. But I had so much more honest to goodness fun in the film than I’d ever thought I would have, I can only recommend it.

jupiterascending

[Slight SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: Craig Titley
Based on: Rick Riordan’s novel
Cast: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Uma Thurman
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Percy Jackson’s (Logan Lerman) life is far from perfect. He’s dyslexic, suffers from ADHD and his mom (Catherine Keener) is married to an asshole. And then Percy finds out that his father is the god Poseidon, his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is a satyr and his teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur. But that’s only the start of his adventures since Zeus’ (Sean Bean) lightning bolt was stolen – and everyone thinks it was Percy who did it.

On re-watching the film it is at the same time less infuriating but also less fun than the first time round. It’s nice, but it also feels completely inconsequential. It’s the kind of film you watch and you don’t mind seeing it but you never think of it again as soon as it’s done.

percyjackson

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Mirror Mirror (2012)

Mirror Mirror
Director: Tarsem Singh
Writer: Jason Keller, Melisa Wallack
Based on: the Snow White fairy tale
Cast: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba, Ronald Lee Clark, Sean Bean

Plot:
Princess Snow White (Lily Collins) has been living imprisoned in her own castle ever since The Queen (Julia Roberts) took over after the death of The King. The Queen has been milking the country and is running out of funds for her lifestyle. When the young Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) comes to her queendom, she thinks that she found a way out. It’s only too bad that Alcott falls in love with Snow White and that at the same time, Snow White’s political conscience awakens.

Mirror Mirror has the beautiful looks usual for a Tarsem Singh movie (the costumes… the freaking costumes!), but it also has the story-telling weaknesses and the quality generally wavers a lot. Nevertheless, fun was being had.

[Slightly SPOILERy]

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Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is the adaptation of the first book in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. It was directed by Chris Columbus and stars Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd and Uma Thurman.

Plot:
Percy Jackson’s (Logan Lerman) life is far from perfect. He’s dyslexic, suffers from ADHD and his mom (Catherine Keener) is married to an asshole. And then Percy finds out that his father is the god Poseidon, his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is a satyr and his teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur. But that’s only the start of his adventures since Zeus’ (Sean Bean) lightning bolt was stolen – and everyone thinks it was Percy who did it.

The movie is fun, especially because of the supporting cast. But there are also a lot of infuriating things going on there: plot holes about 3 miles wide, Chris Columbus and the fact that the culprit was known 2 seconds after his first appearance. Still, it was definitely much better than Cirque du Freak.

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Caravaggio (1986)

Caravaggio is a movie by Derek Jarman starring Nigel Terry, Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean.

Plot:
Caravaggio is a fictionalised biography of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (Nigel Terry), a baroque painter. There it focusses on the love triangle between Caravaggio, Lena (Tilda Swinton) and Ranuccio (Sean Bean).

Before you go into the movie, I recommend reading up on Caravaggio and getting acquainted with his paintings. I didn’t and I was utterly bewildered by most of the things until I did.
That’s also the kind of movie it is: One I can appreciate intellectually, but which doesn’t have a lot of entertainment value. You’d have to rewatch it again, probably, to get all the layers, but I’m afraid that I’m not interested enough to do that. [Bad, cultural kalafudra. BAD!] Although, of course, worse things could happen than watching (almost) naked Sean Bean and Nigel Terry getting it on.

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