Truth (2015)

Truth
Director: James Vanderbilt
Writer: James Vanderbilt
Based on: Mary Mapes‘ book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach, John Benjamin Hickey, David Lyons, Dermot Mulroney, Rachael Blake, Andrew McFarlane
Seen on: 9.6.2016

Plot:
Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) is a producer on CBS’ 60 Minutes, hosted by Dan Rather (Robert Redford). They get wind of a story that George Bush Jr may have received favorable treatment in the army which kept him out of harm’s way and could considerably hurt his run for the presidency. They investigate and despite a few incongruencies decide to go ahead and report on the story. It doesn’t take long, though, for serious doubts to arise as to the veracity of the story and the supporting documents. Quickly, Mary finds herself under heavy fire.

Truth is a decent film carried by Blanchett, but it fundamentally misunderstands the quest it is on, which does throw a wrench in its own works.

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Escape from L.A. (1996)

Escape from L.A.
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Kurt Russell
Sequel to: Escape from New York
Cast: Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Valeria Golino, Stacy Keach, Pam Grier, Bruce Campbell, Georges Corraface, Michelle Forbes, A.J. Langer, Ina Romeo, Peter Jason, Leland Orser
Seen on: 26.5.2016

Plot:
2013. The future. After an earthquake, Los Angeles was turned into an island, separated from the rest of the USA, and used as a deportation station, not only for illegal immigrants, but also for people who lost their citizenship because they didn’t conform to the ultra-conservative morality enforced by the government. But the President’s own daughter Utopia (A.J. Langer) rebels against him and manages to get stranded in L.A. with a deadly device. Fortunately it’s just then that Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is caught once more and threatened with deportation himself – unless he retrieves both Utopia and the weapon.

Well. Since I wasn’t particularly taken with the first Escape film, it is not surprising that I didn’t love the second one either – a film that is inferior in almost every way to its predecessor.

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Frank Miller
Based on: Frank Miller’s comics
Sequel/Prequel to: Sin City
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Josh BrolinEva Green, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher MeloniJeremy PivenChristopher Lloyd, Juno TempleStacy KeachMarton Csokas, Jamie Chung, Julia GarnerJaime King, Lady Gaga, Bruce Willis

Plot [with SPOILERS for the first film]:
Basin City is called Sin City for a reason. A town full of crooked politicians, even more crooked cops, murderers, sex workers and pretty much everyone who was thrown out everywhere else. Marv (Mickey Rourke) spends most of his time when he isn’t fighting with somebody in a strip club where Nancy (Jessica Alba) dances. Nancy is still hung up on Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) suicide to save her and tries to kill Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) who is to blame and regularly plays poker at her club. He always wins, of course, until Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) shows up. But the Senator can’t have people beating him. Dwight (Josh Brolin) is also at the strip club a lot. He is still obsessed with his ex Ava (Eva Green) who suddenly shows up in his life again and severely disrupting it in the process. Now he needs Marv’s help.

I couldn’t tell you what the difference was between the first film and the second since it looks equally great, has an equally good cast and tells equally problematic stories. But in Sin City everything works. In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For I spent very long stretches feeling very bored.

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If I Stay (2014)

If I Stay
Director: R.J. Cutler
Writer: Shauna Cross
Based on: Gayle Forman‘s novel
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard, Liana Liberato, Stacy Keach, Gabrielle Rose, Jakob Davies, Ali Milner, Aisha Hinds

Plot:
Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz) is waiting for her college acceptance letter. Quite anxiously. Her family (Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard, Jakob Davies) try to get her mind of it by taking her to her grandparents’ place. But on the way there, they all have an accident and Mia finds herself floating outside of her body, seeing her parents die and her brother barely alive either. Soon she realizes that she has to decide: does she want to stay alive, where things are complicated – especially with her boyfriend Adam (Jamie Blackley) and the loss of her family – or does she want to let go?

If you’re not careful, If I Stay will land you in a diabetic coma. It pulls on all the heartstring with full force and is equally effective and ridiculous with it.

ifistay

[SPOILERS] Continue reading

Nebraska (2013)

Nebraska
Director: Alexander Payne
Writer: Bob Nelson
Cast: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach

Plot:
Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is old, alcoholic and shows signs of dementia. So it’s no wonder that he actually believes the bogus letter informing him that he won the lottery and needs to come to Nebraska to pick it up. When his family doesn’t want to go with him, Woody tries to walk there. Several times. Until finally his son David (Will Forte) gives in and goes with him on a trip to Nebraska in the hopes of calming Woody. On the way there they are also confronted with the life Woody used to have.

Nebraska was so not my film. I was bored out of my mind for most of it and annoyed for the rest. There was nothing there for me, despite the good performances.

nebraska

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La montagna del dio cannibale [The Mountain of the Cannibal God] (1978)

La montagna del dio cannibale
Director: Sergio Martino
Writer: Sergio Martino, Cesare Frugoni
Cast: Ursula Andress, Stacy Keach, Claudio Cassinelli, Antonio Marsina
Part of: /slash Filmfestival Christmas special

Plot:
Susan Stevenson (Ursula Andress) travels to New Guinea to find her husband who went missing after going on an unsanctioned expedition into the jungle there. So she enlists Edward Foster’s (Stacy Keach) help to find him. Together they, and Susan’s brother Arthur (Antonio Marsina) head into the jungle themselves. But the jungle is a dangerous place.

The Mountain of the Cannibal God is a pure exploitation movie. It’s racist and sexist and quite frankly ridiculous. It features an inordinate amount of actual animal killings. But as such it is so incredibly absurd, I could barely take my eyes off the screen.

la_montagna_del_dio_cannibale

[SPOILERS]

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The Bourne Legacy (2012)

The Bourne Legacy
Director: Tony Gilroy
Writer: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy
Based on: Robert Ludlum‘s novels (kinda)
Sequel to: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz, Oscar Isaac, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Joan Allen, David Strathairn

Plot:
While the events of The Bourne Ultimatum are unfolding, a government group spearheaded by Eric Byer (Edward Norton) tries to get the situation under control by shutting down all programs related to Treadstone. That means that they start killing operatives. But one of them, Aaron (Jeremy Renner), manages to escape and subsequently tries to get back his independence and freedom with the help of Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who designed the drugs that gives the operatives a mental and physical edge.

The Bourne Legacy has a terrific cast, but falls flat in pretty much all other departments: The writing is a mess, the camerawork sucks, as does the editing, but worst of all is the direction.

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