Our Kind of Traitor (2016)

Our Kind of Traitor
Director: Susanna White
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: John le Carré‘s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Naomie HarrisDamian Lewis, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Pawel SzajdaAlicia von Rittberg, Mark Gatiss, Jeremy Northam
Seen on: 19.7.2016

Plot:
Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) are on holidays together in an attempt to get their relationship back on the right track. But things are tense. That’s when they meet Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), a rich, jovial Russian. He invites them for drinks and Perry accepts. Dima takes a liking to him and invites him to a party. It is there that he reveals that he works for the Russian mob and that he needs Perry’s help to deliver data to the UK – data that would secure Dima and his family refuge from the repercussions of the mob. Perry agrees to help, but when he hands over the data to agent Hector (Damian Lewis), the role he and Gail both have to play in the affair is unexpectedly far from over.

Our Kind of Traitor was a decent thriller that ends in cliché country. But for a while there, it is a good ride.

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The Railway Man (2013)

The Railway Man
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Paterson
Based on: Eric Lomaxautobiography
Cast: Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Tanroh Ishida, Sam Reid, Hiroyuki Sanada
Seen on: 6.7.2015

Plot:
Eric (Colin Firth) meets Patti (Nicole Kidman) by chance on a train and the two of them immediately hit it off. a short while later they get married and Pattie discovers that Eric is still stuck in his war experiences: as a young man (Jeremy Irvine), he was a prisoner in a Japanese labor camp for a good while and is now suffering from PTSD. When his best friend Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard) brings him a news report that shows his tormentor from back then, Takeshi (Hiroyuki Sanada), now working at a memorial of the labor camp and Eric decides to go back and make him suffer.

Railway Man is way too long and has so many issues I couldn’t like it one bit, despite the great cast.

The-Railway-Man[SPOILERS]

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett JohanssonJames SpaderAaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth OlsenPaul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Linda Cardellini, Claudia Kim, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 26.04.2015

Plot:
The Avengers – that is Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – have become quite a team. In their most recent take-down of Hydra men, they managed to get back Loki’s scepter. Before Thor can take it back to his world, Tony and Bruce ask to analyze it and they discover a form of intelligence inside of the scepter. They decide to use it to try and create an AI as a defense program. They succeed and said program – Ultron (James Spader) – comes to life. Unfortunately he has his own vision of what a safe world looks like and the Avengers have to face Tony’s and Bruce’ creation.

I really loved the last Avengers movie, and this sequel has many of the same strengths. Unfortunately it also has a lot more problems than the first one, especially when it comes to plot and character development. Nevertheless I really enjoyed myself.

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Cinderella (2015)

Cinderella
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Chris Weitz
Based on: the Disney movie, which is in turn based on the fairy tale
Cast: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgård, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon
Seen on: 16.03.2015

Plot:
After her mother’s (Hayley Atwell) death, Ella’s (Lily James) father (Ben Chaplin) gets married again. Cinderella’s stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her two daughters (Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger) move in and change Ella’s life forever. When her father dies a short time later, Ella becomes Cinderella, a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters. When the Prince (Richard Madden) invites all unmarried women to a ball to choose his wife, Cinderella would like to go as well, but needs the help of her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) to do so. But there are still some difficulties to be faced until the happy end.

Cinderella brings the aesthetic of the animated Disney version to life and adds its own brand of humor. It is a little long at times and the script isn’t particularly good, but it’s enjoyable.

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Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)

Hector and the Search for Happiness
Director: Peter Chelsom
Writer: Maria von Heland, Peter Chelsom, Tinker Lindsay
Based on: François Lelord‘s novel Le voyage d’Hector ou la recherche du bonheur
Cast: Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård, Toni ColletteVeronica Ferres, Jean Reno, Christopher Plummer

Plot:
Hector (Simon Pegg) is a psychiatrist with a well-going practice and a beautiful girlfriend, Clara (Rosamund Pike). But he is stuck in his routine and his safety and his mind keeps wandering back to the “One Who Got Away” (Toni Collette). So he decides that he needs to go on a trip to look for the secret to happiness. Alone, leaving Clara quite take aback. He starts in China but his search will take him to quite a few places.

Hector and the Search for Happiness was perfectly nice, in the slightly derogatory meaning of nice. There was nothing very wrong about it, but nothing very right, either.

Hector-And-The-Search-For-Happiness[SPOILERS]

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w Delta z (2007)

w Delta z
Director: Tom Shankland
Writer: Clive Bradley
Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Melissa George, Ashley Walters, Tom Hardy, Selma Blair, Sally Hawkins

Plot:
Detective Eddie Argo (Stellan Skarsgård) is investigating a series of murders with his new partner Helen Westcott (Melissa George). The bodies all have parts of an equation carved into their skin. They all seem to lead back to a horrific crime that happened a few years ago and that Eddie was deeply involved with. But what do the killings have to do with the equation?

w Delta z is a rather idiosyncratic film. It feels like a philosophical thought experiment in movie form. For long stretches that is interesting, but sometimes the film part suffers for it. But it’s always thought-provoking.

W-Delta-Z

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World
Director: Alan Taylor
Writer: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: Stan Lee‘s, Larry Lieber‘s and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Sequel to: Thor
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Zachary Levi , Jaimie Alexander, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jonathan Howard, Chris O’Dowd, [SPOILERS] Benicio Del Toro, Chris Evans
Part of: Marvel movies

Plot:
Ever since the events in Avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has done his best to ensure the peace across the realms, while Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is locked up on Asgard. Which means that Thor doesn’t have time for Jane (Natalie Portman) who is still waiting for him. But when Jane stumbles on the Aether, an ancient weapon, Thor comes to her aid, just as Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) comes for the Aether, planning to destroy the universe with it.

As much as I love the first Thor movie – and I do – I have to admit that it doesn’t quite reach the heights that Thor: The Dark World reaches. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard in a movie, especially an action movie. It does almost everything completely right and it’s just plain great.

thor-the-dark-world

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Re-Watch: Thor (2011)

Thor
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne
Based on: Stan Lee‘s, Larry Lieber‘s and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, Clark Gregg, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Josh Dallas, Jaimie Alexander, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner
Part of: Marvel movies
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
After yet another attack by the Frost Giants on Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) loses his cool and together with his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) pays them a rather violent visit. Their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is less than happy about this and decides to ban Thor to Earth until he’s learned his lesson and is less rash. On Earth, scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) stumbles upon Thor and doesn’t really know what to do with him. And if it wasn’t challenging enough for Thor to try and return to Asgard, a shitload of trouble is brewing with Loki.

Even on re-watching, Thor is an absolutely entertaining and fun-filled film with a great cast and really good pacing. I enjoyed the hell out of it again.

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Kongen av Bastøy [King of Devil’s Island] (2010)

Kongen av Bastøy
Director: Marius Holst
Writer: Dennis Magnusson, Eric Schmid
Based on: true incidents at the Bastøy prison
Cast: Benjamin Helstad, Trond Nilssen, Stellan Skarsgard, Kristoffer Joner, Morten Løvstad, Magnus Langlete

Plot:
In 1915, Bastøy Island is a prison for young boys, ruled by the director Bestyreren (Stellan Skarsgard). One day, two new boys arrive – Erling (Benjamin Helstad) and Ivar (Magnus Langlete). Bestyreren puts both of them in the C company, headed by Bråthen (Kristoffer Joner) and co-prisoner, but almost released Olav (Trond Nilssen). While Ivar just tries to survive the harsh and sadistic circumstances, Erling won’t take anything lying down.

Kongen av Bastøy is a beautifully shot, calm little film that I did not expect to like as much as I did. I expected a more brutal film but I was really touched by it.

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The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Alexis Denisof, Harry Dean Stanton, Enver Gjokaj
Part of: Marvel movies

Plot:
Under the watchful eye of Director Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D., scientist Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) is working on the Tesseract, a source of practically unlimited power. But Loki (Tom Hiddleston), crazed and bitter, has organized an alien army to take over the earth in exchange for the Tesseract. He breaks into S.H.I.E.L.D. and steals the Tesseract, brainwashing Selvig and Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in the process. Fury finds himself scrambling for something to hold against Loki and so he assembles a team made up of Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner aka the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth).

The Avengers is absolutely freaking and completely awesome. Joss Whedon knows how to handle his characters and especially the team dynamics and he does so here, too. Plus, it’s really, really funny. In short, be prepared for gushing.

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