Locked Down (2021) – DNF

Locked Down
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anne Hathaway, Dulé Hill, Jazmyn Simon, Mark Gatiss, Ben Kingsley, Ben Stiller, Stephen Merchant, Mindy Kaling, Claes Bang, Lucy Boynton
Seen on: 4.8.2022

Plot:
Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) have been a couple for a while. But they were in the middle of breaking up with each other when Corona and the resulting lockdown hit them. Now, they are both at home, trying to avoid each other best as they can. Linda takes meeting after meeting online, drowning in work she questions more and more, while Paxton who usually works as a delivery driver is bored out of his mind. When Paxton is supposed to make a delivery with a false identity that connects to Linda’s job, the two have an idea, though: they start to plan a heist.

Locked Down should be good. A heist movie with Ejiofor and Hathaway sounds absolutely ideal. On paper. The actual film is so dreary that I called it quits 50 minutes in, not willing to waste any more time on it.

The film poster showing Linda (Anne Hathaway) staring at Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor).
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Fighting with My Family (2019)

Fighting with My Family
Director: Stephen Merchant
Writer: Stephen Merchant
Cast: Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Nick Frost, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, Olivia Bernstone, Leah Harvey Dwayne Johnson, Thomas Whilley, Tori Ellen Ross, John Cena, Stephen Merchant
Seen on: 22.5.2022

Plot:
The Knight family – father Ricky (Nick Frost), mother Julia (Lena Headey) and their children Zak (Jack Lowden) and Saraya (Florence Pugh) live and breathe wrestling, though the possibilities in their English town are limited. But then the chance of a lifetime comes calling: Zak and Saraya can audition for Hutch (Vince Vaughn), a talent scout for the big leagues and their ticket to the WWE. Or at least, that’s what they hope.

I didn’t expect much of Fighting with My Family, apart from being able to watch Florence Pugh do her thing, so I was very pleasantly surprised by the film that turned out to be a warm, funny family movie that reminded me of the time I really loved wrestling.

The film poster showing Saraya (Florence Pugh) leaning in the corner of a wrestling ring with the other main characters of the film behind her.
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Table 19 (2017)

Table 19
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Writer: Jeffrey Blitz
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, Tony Revolori, Margo Martindale, Wyatt Russell, Rya Meyers, Charles Green, Thomas Cocquerel
Seen on: 2.10.2020

Plot:
Eloise (Anna Kendrick) has been debating with herself whether she should attend the wedding of her (former?) best friend after her boyfriend – the bride’s brother and best man – Teddy (Wyatt Russell) dumped her. Over a text. Relegating Eloise from Maid of Honor to outcast at the wedding. In the end, she can’t stay away and ends up at the dreaded Table 19 – where all the guests sit that nobody expected or wanted to actually show up. Bina (Lisa Kudrow) and Jerry Kepp (Craig Robinson), Jo Flanagan (June Squibb), Walter Thimble (Stephen Merchant), and Renzo Eckberg (Tony Revolori) share Eloise’s fate and bring their own issues. As the wedding goes on and Eloise’s natural penchant for drama comes out more and more, things turn from awkward to outright catastrophic for them all.

I didn’t have high expectations for Table 19, but Anna Kendirick was ultimately enough of a draw for me to give it a go. And in some ways, it did surpass my expectations, but mostly it’s the cinematic equivalent of a cheap snack: pleasurable enough as long as it lasts, but gone from memory as soon as its over.

The film poster showing a fork holding up a wedding invitation. The fork has five tines, the middle one is the only tine in front of the invitation.
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Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Jojo Rabbit
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Taika Waititi
Based on: Christine Leunens‘s book Caging Skies
Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, Archie Yates
Seen on: 26.1.2020

Plot:
Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) has two best friends in the world: Yorki (Archie Yates) and Adolf (Taika Waititi) – as in Hitler. Of course, Jojo knows that Adolf is imaginary, but that doesn’t make him any less real to him and Adolf’s encouragement as Jojo joins the Hitler Youth is invaluable to him. But Jojo’s life takes a sharp turn after an accident that leaves him unable to be part of the Hitler Youth and he discovers that his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home.

I went into Jojo Rabbit with very high expectations. So far, I very much enjoyed Waititi’s films, reviews of the films have been very positive and the trailer looked great. And maybe my expectations were too high, but I left the film with a sinking feeling of disappointment.

The film poster showing the film's main characters.
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Logan (2017)

Logan
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Based on: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven‘s comic series Old Man Logan, which is in turn based on the character Wolverine created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, John Romita Sr. and the Marvel Comics X-Men series
Sequel to: the X-Men movies
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Quincy Fouse
Seen on: 8.3.2017

Plot:
Mutants have been practically eradicated. There are only a few left – those who manage to hide very well. One of them is Logan (Hugh Jackman), whose age is starting to show in the decreased tempo of his healing. He takes care of Xavier (Patrick Stewart), whose age is in turn showing in the dementia he developed. They are constantly at risk of being discovered. When Logan is asked to drive the young Laura (Dafne Keen) to Canada, he smells trouble and tries to refuse. But Laura won’t let herself be refused. She is like Logan in many ways and definitely a mutant. And she is pursued by an organization that means her harm. Laura forces Logan to face the world and his place in it.

Logan is probably the most emotionally mature superhero film, at least of recent years. Nevertheless, I’m not quite as taken with it as many other people were.

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Re-Watch: Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick FrostTimothy DaltonJim BroadbentPaddy ConsidineRafe Spall, Olivia Colman, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Joe CornishAlice Lowe, David Bradley, Bill Bailey, Stephen MerchantJulia Deakin, Cate Blanchett, Steve Coogan, Peter Jackson
Part of: The Cornetto Trilogy

Plot:
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is London’s star police man. But his success makes the rest of the service look bad, so he is reassigned to the small town of Sandford, where he’s partnered up with Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). Sandford might officially be the safest town in the UK, but Nick’s investigations soon turn up some weird things, when a series of freak accidents start.

Man, I really love this movie. It’s funny, fast-paced and riddled with cameos (some of which I only just learned about, like Peter Jackson and Cate Blanchett). It’s just an absolute joy to watch.

hot_fuzz

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I Give It a Year (2013)

I Give It a Year
Director: Dan Mazer
Writer: Dan Mazer
Cast: Rose Byrne, Rafe SpallAnna FarisSimon Baker, Minnie Driver, Jason FlemyngOlivia Colman, Stephen Merchant, Daisy Haggard

Plot:
Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) just got married after a rather short dating period and despite several signs that it might not be such a good idea. As they return from their honeymoon and settle into their routine, problems start to arise. First, there’s Josh’s ex, Chloe (Anna Faris) who is still one of his best friends but with whom things might not be quite as resolved as both of them thought. And second there’s Nat’s new client, the charming and rich and obviously interested Guy (Simon Baker).

I Give It a Year has some nice jokes and one very good scene, but mostly it has characters one hesitates to call characters at all because they have no personalities whatsoever and everything else has been there before a little too often.

i-give-it-a-year

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Movie 43 (2013)

Movie 43 (it’s a comedy anthology with the following segments)
Writer (for the most parts): Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, Steve Baker
The Thread (in the European version, that’s the framing device; in the US, I gather, it’s a different story)
Director: Bob Odenkirk
Cast: Devin Eash, Adam Cagley, Mark L. Young
The Catch
Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman
Homeschooled
Director: Will Graham
Cast: Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Jeremy Allen White
The Proposition
Director: Steve Carr
Cast: Chris Pratt, Anna Faris
Veronica
Director: Griffin Dunne
Cast: Kieran Culkin, Emma Stone
iBabe
Director: Steven Brill
Cast: Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Aasif Mandvi, Jack McBrayer
Superhero Speed Dating
Director: James Duffy
Cast: Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Bibb, John Hodgman
Machine Kids
Director: Jonathan van Tulleken
Writer: Jonathan van Tulleken
Middleschool Date
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh
Tampax
Director: Patrik Forsberg
Writer: Patrik Forsberg
Happy Birthday
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Gerard Butler
Truth or Dare
Director: Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg
Cast: Stephen Merchant, Halle Berry
Victory’s Glory
Director: Rusty Cundieff
Cast: Terrence Howard
Beezel
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel

Plot:
Calvin (Mark L. Young) and his best friend JJ (Adam Cagley) wanted to trick his little brother Baxter (Devin Eash) by making him look for a supposedly banned film that doesn’t actually exist – Movie 43. But Baxter actually finds something, and as they move from clip to clip they come ever closer to the truth.

People, heed my warning. I thought that a movie with that cast couldn’t possible be as bad as the trailer. “There must be something there,” I thought. “Something redeeming. It can’t possibly be all dick jokes, scatological humor and misanthropy?” Now I laugh in the face of my naivité. Because that really is all there is to this film: people behaving like disgusting assholes and we’re supposed to laugh about it. And all that remains after seeing the film is a question: Why? Why would anybody want to make such a film? Why are any of the actors involved in this? Why would anybody think that shit is funny? WHYYYYY????

movie-43

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Burke and Hare (2010)

[One of the films of the /slash Filmfestival‘s special European evening.]

Burke and Hare is the newest film by John Landis, starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Tom Wilkinson, Isla Fisher, Jessica Hynes, Bill Bailey, Christopher Lee, Tim Curry, Hugh Bonneville, David Schofield, Pollyanna McIntosh, Stephen Merchant and probably another 500 actors worthy of mention.

Plot:
Edinburgh, beginning of the 19th century: They city is very proud of its two medical faculties, headed by Doctor Monro (Tim Curry) and Doctor Knox (Tom Wilkinson) respectively. The two of them are in strong competition – and not really in a friendly way. They especially fight over the bodies they can use for dissection. When Knox runs out of supply, he has to find new means to get bodies. And that’s where William Burke (Simon Pegg) and William Hare (Andy Serkis) enter the scene: continually strapped for cash, Burke and Hare find new and, let’s say creative means of finding new corpses for Knox to work with.

Despite its topic, Burke and Hare is incredibly funny.  It does get a bit silly from time to time, but in a very endearing way and it never gets too stupid. In short, gallows humor, a great cast and a nice script [though not at all historically accurate] – what more could you ask for?

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Cemetery Junction (2010)

Cemetery Junction is the newest movie by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, starring Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan, Felicity Jones, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

Plot:
1973. Freddie (Christian Cooke) just got a job at the local insurance company, which he believes will make all his dreams come true – house, wife, kids, not working in a factory like his friend Bruce (Tom Hughes). But things get shaken up when it turns out that Freddie’s mentor Mike (Matthew Goode) is dating the boss’ (Ralph Fiennes) daughter Julie (Felitcity Jones). Julie and Freddie used to be friends as kids, and hit it off again right away.

Cemetery Junction is not what you expect Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant movie. Neither of them plays a big part and their usual humor is mostly absent. Instead, it’s a sweet, funny and romantic coming-of-age story.

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