Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Thor: Love and Thunder
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Taika Waititi, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Based on: Stan Lee‘s, Larry Lieber‘s and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Sequel to: Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, Kieron L. Dyer, Jaimie Alexander, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Simon Russell Beale, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Matt Damon, Melissa McCarthy
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 15.7.2022

Plot:
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) hasn’t been doing too well after recent events, although he doesn’t look it. Traveling around with the Guardians of the Galaxy to help people, he finds some fulfillment in fighting for the weak. When he hears a cry for help from his old friend Sif (Jaimie Alexander) who tells him about the God Butcher Gorr (Christian Bale) who has been hunting gods all over the galaxy, Thor returns to New Asgard, where King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) leads the rest of the Asgardian refugees. And just in time to find not only Gorr attacking Asgard, but also his ex-girlfriend Jane (Natalie Portman) who has taken up Mjolnir and has also become Thor. Together, they go after Gorr while also trying to figure out where they stand with each other.

Thor: Love and Thunder is a really fun film that surreptitiously tackles some hard topics, ending with a positive message that is a breath of fresh air in the age of movie cynicism.

The film poster showing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a meditative pose wearing a mumu in front of a colorful galactical background. Behind him we can see Jane as Thor (Natalie Portman), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Taika Waititi), as well as a ship drawn by two giant goats. Gorr (Christian Bale) is smiling as a floating head above it all.
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Radioactive (2019)

Radioactive
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Writer: Jack Thorne
Based on: Lauren Redniss‘ book Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Sam Riley, Aneurin Barnard, Simon Russell Beale, Sian Brooke, Drew Jacoby, Katherine Parkinson, Corey Johnson, Anya Taylor-Joy
Seen on: 18.8.2020
[Here’s my review of the 2016 Marie Curie movie.]

Content Note: xenomisia

Plot:
Marie (Rosamund Pike) is completely devoted to her work, but when she loses her spot in the lab, her project is threatened. When Pierre (Sam Riley) offers her a workspace in his own lab, she is hesitant to accept because she doesn’t want to have to depend on him and she certainly doesn’t want anybody interfering with her work. But she doesn’t really have any options, so she does agree. This is the beginning of their collaboration and Marie’s lifelong fight to have herself and her work recognized.

I think I wanted to like Radioactive better than I actually did. It does bring some new perspectives to the story, but not all of the ideas here work as they should.

The FIlm poster showing Marie Curie (Rosamund Pike) with her hands in her waist.
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Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

Mary Queen of Scots
Director: Josie Rourke
Writer: Beau Willimon
Based on: John Guy‘s book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Simon Russell Beale, Guy Pearce, Adrian Lester, Gemma Chan, David Tennant, Martin Compston, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Brendan Coyle, Ian Hart, James McArdle
Seen on: 30.1.2019
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Plot:
Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) just returned to Scotland from France, making her even more of a threat to her cousin Queen Elizabeth I’s (Margot Robbie) reign. Protestant Elizabeth fears the younger, Catholic Mary, and hopes to strengthen her own hold on the crown by marrying Mary off to a Protestant Englishman. Politically, the right man for the job would be Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn), but Elizabeth is hesitant because she is in love with Dudley herself. And Mary’s heart is also set on somebody else.

Mary Queen of Scot was so… long. I just couldn’t get excited about a film that drags and drags, despite some really excellent points it makes and despite wonderful performances. But dammit, it was boring.

The film poster showing Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) and Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) both dressed in similar dresses in the exact same shade of gold.
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The Death of Stalin (2017)

The Death of Stalin
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writer: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows
Based on: Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin’s graphic novel La Mort de Staline
Cast: Adrian McLoughlin, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Brooke, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Andrea Riseborough
Seen on: 11.4.2018

Plot:
1953 in Moscow. Josef Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) has been in power for decades. But now he suddenly dies, leaving a power vacuum that demands to be filled. His right hand men, the Council of Ministers, try to strike the balance between appearing to grieve, not panicking and grabbing for power. Lavrentia Beria (Simon Russell Beale) and Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) quickly become the heads of the biggest two camps in that fight.

I wanted to like The Death of Stalin more than I actually did. It’s well made, of that there’s no doubt, but I was partly very uncomfortable about the jokes they cracked that I felt made light of things nobdy should make light of.

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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
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Plot:
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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The Tempest

The Tempest
Director: Gregory Doran
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Simon Russell Beale, Jonathan Broadbent, Jenny Rainsford, Joe Dixon, Mark Quartley, James Tucker, Tom Turner, Daniel Easton
Seen on: 11.1.2017
[Here’s my review of the Julie Taymor movie version.]

Plot:
Many years ago Prospero (Simon Russell Beale) was betrayed by his brother Antonio (Jonathan Broadbent). Antonio sent him and his daughter Miranda (Jenny Rainsford) off on a ship so that they may die, but they managed to survive and have been stranded on an island ever since. They are almost the only inhabitants of the island, apart from Caliban (Joe Dixon), the spiteful son of the former island ruler, and the sprite Ariel (Mark Quartley) who both have been enslaved by Prospero’s magic. Their existence is severely disrupted though when a ship sinks just off the island – a ship carrying not only Alonso the King of Naples (James Tucker), his brother Sebastian (Tom Turner) and his son Ferdinand (Daniel Easton), but also Antonio. Prospero knows that his time has come at last.

The Tempest was a gorgeous production with a strong cast and nice use of video projections. It still had a couple of issues, but I did enjoy it very much.

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Re-Watch: The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

The Deep Blue Sea
Director: Terence Davies
Writer: Terence Davies
Based on: Terence Rattigan‘s play
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, Simon Russell Beale, Barbara Jefford
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 24.10.2016
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Hester (Rachel Weisz) is married to William (Simon Russell Beale), but left him because she fell in love with Freddie (Tom Hiddleston). Now the two of them are kind of living together, but actually it’s more like they are continuously tearing themselves apart. It gets so bad that Hester tries to kill herself, which leads the three of them to finally confront the situation they find themselves in.

I already liked the film the first time round, but it was even better to watch it a second time. It’s fascinating to see myself reacting differently to the film again (it’s not been that long that I saw it for the first time) and to see the film again with new eyes.

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The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

The Legend of Tarzan
Director: David Yates
Writer: Adam CozadCraig Brewer
Based on: Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ short stories
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Margot RobbieSamuel L. JacksonChristoph WaltzDjimon HounsouSimon Russell BealeJim BroadbentBen Chaplin
Seen on: 7.8.2016

Plot:
Years ago the man known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) became John Clayton once more and returned from Congo to his home country of England with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie). Now he’s trying very hard to leave his wild past behind him. But then George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) turns up in London, accusing a Belgian/Congolese mining company run by Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) in the name of King Leopold of slave trade. He needs John’s help to prove it, so reluctantly, John agrees to return.

I didn’t expect Tarzan to be very good and it wasn’t. But it did surprise me in some of the ways that it was bad. That’s… an achievement, I guess.

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Persuasion (1995)

Persuasion
Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Nick Dear
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds, Susan Fleetwood, Corin Redgrave, Fiona Shaw, John Woodvine, Phoebe Nicholls, Samuel West, Sophie Thompson, Judy Cornwell, Simon Russell Beale
Seen on: 27.6.2015

Plot:
Many years ago, Anne Elliot (Amanda Root) was engaged to Frederick Wentworth (Ciarán Hinds), but took the advice of her motherly friend Lady Russell (Susan Fleetwood), as well as listened to the opinions of her father Sir Walter (Corin Redgrave) and her sister Elizabeth (Phoebe Nicholls) and dissolved the engagement since Wentworth didn’t have much standing. Quite by coincidence Frederick is back in her life after years in the Navy and has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne is convinced, though, that he will never forgive her for her past actions. And when her cousin William Elliot (Samuel West) starts courting her, she might be getting another chance, despite being alread 27 years old and still unmarried.

Persuasion was so incredibly nice, I almost burned the cake that I was baking while watching it because I couldn’t bear to leave Anne and Frederick.

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Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
Writer. James Lapine
Based on: James Lapine‘s (book) and Stephen Sondheim‘s (music and lyrics) musical, which is in turn based on a few Brothers Grimm fairy tales
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Lilla CrawfordChris Pine, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Mauzy, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Meryl Streep, Simon Russell Beale, Johnny Depp, Frances de la Tour
Seen on: 11.3.2015

Plot:
The baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) dream of having a child, but due to a curse by the evil witch (Meryl Streep), they can’t conceive. But the witch offers to reverse the curse – if they bring her certain items: a cow as white as milk, hair the color of corn, a golden slipper and a red cape. They set off into the woods where they hope to find all of those items. As luck will have it, Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) runs away from her prince (Chris Pine) in golden slippers, Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) tries to sell his white cow, Litte Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) is visiting her gran in her red cape and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) and her blonde hair meet her prince (Billy Magnussen) – all in those same woods. But things don’t go quite as planned.

The first half of Into the Woods is extremely enjoyable. In the second half, the plot completely unravels, but at least cast and production design are still awesome.

Into_the_Woods

[SPOILERS]

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