Snowden (2016)

Snowden
Director: Oliver Stone
Writer: Kieran Fitzgerald, Oliver Stone
Based on: the books The Snowden Files by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Melissa Leo, Zachary QuintoShailene Woodley, Rhys Ifans, Nicolas Cage, Tom Wilkinson, Joely Richardson, Timothy Olyphant, Erol Sander, Scott Eastwood, Ben Chaplin
Seen on: 4.10.2016

Plot:
Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) used to be a soldier, then he started working for the NSA. Growing disillusioned with the NSA’s surveillance practices, he decides to do something about it. He contacts journalists Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and leaks documents and evidence through them. But whistleblowing like that is treason and Snowden has to be smart to make sure that the information reaches the public and that he doesn’t get caught.

Snowden is a very nice companion piece to Citizenfour. It’s a well done, engaging film and you can’t repeat this horrifying story and the sheer scope of everything enough.

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Insurgent (2015)

Insurgent
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback
Based on: Veronica Roth’s novel
Sequel to: Divergent
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Octavia Spencer, Zoë Kravitz, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Naomi Watts, Maggie Q, Daniel Dae Kim, Janet McTeer
Seen on: 25.03.2015

Plot:
The Erudite have attacked Abnegation and Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Marcus (Ray Stevenson), Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter (Miles teller) are heading to Amity for a safe place to stay. But Erudite’s attack is just the beginning of an upheaval in their society in which the Divergent have a huge part to play. But Tris doesn’t know what exactly is going on. She just knows that Jeanine (Kate Winslet) won’t stop hunting her.

After Divergent I actually thought I’d skip Insurgent but then I was weak and went to see it after all. And it was actually worse than Divergent.

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The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

The Fault in Our Stars
Director: Josh Boone
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Based on: John Green’s novel
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Mike Birbiglia

Plot:
Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is sixteen, and is slowly dying from cancer. Her parents (Laura Dern, Sam Trammell) force her to attend a support group which only turns really interesting for Hazel when her friend Isaac (eye cancer) (Nat Wolff) brings his best friend Augustus (Ansel Elgort) to the group. Augustus lost one of his legs to osteosarcoma. Hazel and Augustus quickly bond over a novel – An Imperial Affliction – and their obsession with that book leads them on wholly unexpected adventures.

The Fault in Our Stars is exactly the sobfest you’d expect it to be and works just as well as the book. It is one of the most faithful adaptations of a book I’ve ever seen on screen.

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Divergent (2014)

Divergent
Director: Neil Burger
Writer: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor
Based on: Veronica Roth’s novel
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Kate Winslet

Plot:
In Beatrice’ (Shailene Woodley) world, people are divided into five castes according to their strengths – Abnegation are the selfless, Erudite the intelligence, Candor the truthful, Dauntless the brave and Amity the peaceful. Until their 16th birthday, kids just live in the caste of their parents, but then there’s an aptitude test and they have to choose their own place. For Beatrice that means ending up to choose Dauntless, while her brother (Ansel Elgort) chooses Erudite – much to the shock of their parents who practically lose them both since they remain in Abnegation. Adapting to the new caste is a challenge for Beatrice, now Tris, and having a crush on her instructor Four (Theo James) doesn’t help. But there are even bigger things at stake.

I’m already not a huge fan of the book series but the film was even worse. Flat, boring and pretty much wasting the (supporting) cast.

divergent

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The Descendants (2011)

The Descendants
Director: Alexander Payne
Writer: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Based on: Kaui Hart Hemmingsnovel
Cast: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer, Beau Bridges, Robert Forster

Plot:
Matt King (George Clooney) is a lawyer who works a lot, even though he has enough money so it wouldn’t actually be necessary. When his rather estranged wife has a boating accident and is suddenly in a coma, Matt has to re-arrange his life completely. He never was much involved with life at home. so he is quite overwhelmed with dealing with his daughters Scottie (Amara Miller) and Alex (Shailene Woodley). When he finds out that his wife had an affair he sets out together with his daughters, and Alex’ friend Sid (Nick Krause), to find the man and inform him about the situation.

I don’t quite get the excitement about this film. I mean, yes, it is nice and perfectly acted and beautifully shot and it is certainly a good film. But from the accolades it garners, I guess I expected a little more than a good film: I expected an outstanding one. And this isn’t it.

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