Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures
Director: Theodore Melfi
Writer: Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Based on: Margot Lee Shetterly‘s book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
Cast: Taraji P. HensonOctavia SpencerJanelle MonáeKevin CostnerKirsten Dunst, Jim ParsonsMahershala AliAldis HodgeGlen Powell
Seen on: 6.2.2017

Plot:
NASA is working hard to send their first man into space – and especially to bring him back again. But they haven’t yet cracked the orbit needed for that. Working as computers, the black women Katherine Goble (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) are far removed from the action, both figuratively and literally. But when the Soviets make quick advances and pressure rises, Katherine’s mathematic skills bring her right into the heart of the team. But racism isn’t all that easily overcome by maths.

Hidden Figures was entertaining, charming and incredibly enjoyable. It was almost too smooth – I was missing a bit of anger. But that’s only a teeny tiny complaint about a film I very much loved.

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Something New (2006)

Something New
Director: Sanaa Hamri
Writer: Kriss Turner
Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Simon Baker, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Golden Brooks, Taraji P. Henson, Mike Epps, Donald Faison, Alfre Woodard, Earl BillingsBlair Underwood
Seen on: 23.1.2016

Plot:
Kenya (Sanaa Lathan) knows exactly what she wants and what she wants her life to be. At the moment this means that she is focused on her career while dreaming of the perfect black guy to marry. But after spending yet another Valentine’s Day working long hours, she agrees to a blind date. Much to her surprise Brian (Simon Baker) turns out to be white, but also damn charming. Still Kenya doesn’t want to deviate from her plans, so all she does is hire Brian as her landscape architect. But will she be able to keep her distance?

Something New is a charming little film that strengthens its romance with a discussion of racism and racial relations. It’s not particularly subtle about that, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

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Larry Crowne (2011)

Larry Crowne is the newest film directed by Tom Hanks, written by him and Nia Vardalos, starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Pam Grier, Taraji P. Henson, Cedric the Enterainer, Bryan Cranston and George Takei.

Plot:
Larry (Tom Hanks) has been working at a supermarket every since he left the navy and he loves his job. But then he gets fired and decides to reinvent himself. He starts a college course, gets a scooter and finds new friends, especially Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who helps him re-arrange his life. And to top it all off, Larry falls in love with his teacher Mercedes (Julia Roberts) who is unhappy with her own life.

Larry Crowne is a sweet film. It’s not great, it’s not brilliant, it’s not awesome but it’s nice and fun and gives you an entertaining couple of hourse.

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The Karate Kid (2010)

The Karate Kid is a remake of the 1984 movie that made a generation (or three) insanely happy for no real reason. It was directed by Harald Zwart and stars Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson and Wenwen Han.

Plot:
Dre (Jaden Smith) moves with his mother (Taraji P. Henson) from the US to China. He’s unhappy about the move, but sees some light at the end of the tunnel when he meets Meiying (Wenwen Han), a really cute girl. Unfortunately, the boys from the evil Kung Fu club don’t take too well to strangers hitting on Chinese girls and beat Dre up. Repeatedly. That is, until the handyman Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) steps in and takes it upon himself to train Dre in Kung Fu.

The movie is not the catastrophe it set out to be. Since it’s not terribly good, either, that’s probably the highest praise you’re going to get for it. It’s a little too long, it could have done with a little more originality, but in the end? It’s pretty okay.

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Date Night (2010)

Date Night is the newest movie by Shawn Levy, starring Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Mark Ruffalo, James Franco and Mila Kunis.

Plot:
The Fosters (Steve Carell, Tina Fey) are a rather ordinary couple – he is a tax lawyer, she a real estate agent. Once a week, they have their Date Night, which is mostly the same every week. One week, they decide to do something special and have dinner in New York. But they arrive late at this ultra-hip restaurant and don’t get a table. On a whim, they decide to take the reservation of somebody else. Unfortunately these somebodies are in real trouble and now the Fosters get caught up in the whole thing.

Date Night is nothing special, but it has some really awesome moments. It’s fun and it will keep you entertained, as long as you don’t expect a meditation on life and death. [But honestly, who would?]

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the new movie by David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. It’s nominated for about a hundred Oscars. It’s based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Plot:
At the end of World War I, a baby is born – but it’s the ugliest baby anyone has ever seen. He looks like an old man. Disgusted and shocked by his wife’s death, the father [Jason Flemyng] abandons the baby on the steps of an old persons’ home, where it is found by the motherly caretaker Queenie [Taraji P. Henson], who takes him in and calls him Benjamin.
Benjamin [Brad Pitt] ages in reverse. He was born an old man, but with each year that passes, he gets younger and younger. As a child, he meets Daisy [Cate Blanchett], the love of his life who will continue to be the connecting thread in his restless existence.

What a sweeping movie. There’s absolutely everything in it. It’s wonderfully done. It could have been a little shorter though. But it’s definitely a movie you should see.

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[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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