Pawn Sacrifice (2014)

Pawn Sacrifice
Director: Edward Zwick
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard, Edward Zinoviev, Alexandre Gorchkov, Lily Rabe, Robin Weigert
Seen on: 16.5.2016

Plot:
Bobby Fisher (Tobey Maguire) loves one thing and one thing only: playing chess. And he’s damn good at it. So good, in fact, that he seems to be the only person who might be able to actually beat the Russians, in particular the current world champion Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber). In times of the Cold War, that victory becomes much more than a simple win in a game. But the pressure that puts on Bobby starts to be too much for his already fractured psyche.

I’m not a huge fan of movies that are yet another take on how closely genius and madness lie together. Usually those films do a great disservice to both. So I probably wouldn’t have seen Pawn Sacrifice if it hadn’t been for Liev Schreiber. Which would have actually been a pity. It didn’t blow me away, but it is a very decent film with great characters.

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Burnt (2015)

Burnt
Director: John Wells
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy, Sam Keeley, Henry Goodman, Matthew Rhys, Stephen Campbell Moore, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander, Lily James
Seen on: 16.12.2015

Plot:
Adam (Bradley Cooper) was the rising star in the cooking world before alcohol and drugs got the better of him. When his career was completely destroyed (plus the career of some of his friends for good measure), he set himself  the penance of shucking a million oysters. Three years later he is sober and as he reaches the final oyster, he is ready to give his career a new start. Activating all his old connections and bullying himself into a restaurant kitchen, he is ready to get that third Michelin star.

Burnt is a film about an asshole that for some reason is be believed the coolest person on the planet. The best that I can say about it is that it’s watchable and the cast is good. Other than that, though, I was mostly annoyed by it.

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Seventh Son (2014)

Seventh Son
Director: Sergey Bodrov
Writer: Charles Leavitt, Steven Knight
Based on: Joseph Delaney‘s novel The Spook’s Apprentice
Cast: Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Antje Traue, Olivia Williams, John DeSantis, Kit Harington, Djimon Hounsou, Kandyse McClure, Luc Roderique, Zahf Paroo
Seen on: 10.03.2015

Plot:
Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is a spook, a warrior and warden against the supernatural. But he’s the last of his kind, especially since his latest apprentice (Kit Harington) just met his unfortunate demise at the hands of the evil witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore). Malkin had been imprisoned for a very long while, but she managed to free herself and plans on taking revenge and get her power back. So Gregory hires himself a new apprentice, Tom (Ben Barnes), and together they will do anything in their power to stop Malkin.

Seventh Son was okay. Not quite as craptastic as I expected, but not good either. It was entertaining enough, but I kept wishing that I was in the film that Julianne Moore was obviously in, but the rest of the cast not so much.

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The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writer: Steven Knight
Based on: Richard C. Moraisnovel
Cast: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon, Amit Shah, Farzana Dua Elahe, Dillon Mitra, Aria Pandya

Plot:
The Kadam family left India after a horrible fire to try and find new luck in Europe. The UK wasn’t so much their thing, so they head for France where they become stranded in a small village where they plan to open a restaurant, especially because son Hassan (Manish Dayal) has a gift for food. But the place they find is right across the street from the Michelin-starred restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). Mallory is taken aback by her new neighbors but Hassan dreams of learning French cuisine.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is not an earth-shattering film but it is sweet and entertaining and despite being a film about cultural differences, it doesn’t hinge on stereotypes (the usual pitfall of movies of its type). I enjoyed it.

The-Hundred-Foot-Journey

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Locke (2013)

Locke
Director: Steven Knight
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Tom Holland

Plot:
Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is a construction manager and loving father who prides himself in being absolutely reliable. Nevertheless he gets into his car after he receives a call one night and drives away from the biggest challenge his company ever faced and from his family.

Locke is an amazing film that proves once again how little you actually need to tell a compelling story. Despite the fact that all you see is Tom Hardy driving, I was glued to the screen for the entire time.

locke

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