Crooked House (2017)

Crooked House
Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Writer: Julian Fellowes, Tim Rose Price, Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Based on: Agatha Christie‘s novel
Cast: Max Irons, Stefanie Martini, Glenn Close, Honor Kneafsey, Christina Hendricks, Terence Stamp, Julian Sands, Gillian Anderson, Christian McKay, Amanda Abbington, Preston Nyman
Seen on: 17.12.2018
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Plot:
Charles Hayward (Max Irons) used to be a diplomat/spy in Egypt, but now he is back in London and takes up a business as a private detective. When the rich Aristide Leonides is poisoned in his home, his granddaughter Sophia (Stefanie Martini) calls on Hayward, who was her lover some time ago, to solve the case. Hayward arrives at the Leonides estate to face a complicated family filled with suspects and suspicions.

Crooked House was bad. Holy shit, it was such an exhausting film. I hated it so much, I was very happy that I coincidentally had alcohol-filled chocolates with me so I could dull the pain a little.

The film poster showing the main characters in front of a dark manor.
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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Jane Goldman
Based on: Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children trilogy
Cast: Asa ButterfieldElla PurnellFinlay MacMillanLauren McCrostieHayden Keeler-StoneGeorgia PembertonMilo ParkerRaffiella ChapmanEva GreenSamuel L. JacksonJudi DenchRupert EverettAllison JanneyChris O’DowdTerence Stamp,
Seen on: 5.11.2016

Plot:
Jacob (Asa Butterfield) has always been very close to his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp) who told him all kinds of stories of his childhood in an orphanage led by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), among children that all had very special gifts. Only as Jacob grew older, he stopped believing in those stories. Then his grandfather is attacked and Jacob sees a strange monster that nobody else is able to see. He is unsettled, to say the least and convinces his father (Chris O’Dowd) to head to Cairnholm, the island where his grandfather’s orphanage was, to find out more about his past and to hopefully be able to separate fact from fiction.

I read the first book of the trilogy and I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about it, so I didn’t have high expectations about this film. And rightly so. Miss Peregrine’s Home is a decidedly mediocre affair with the best thing about it that they actually finish the story and are obviously not banking on an entire trilogy of films.

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Big Eyes (2014)

Big Eyes
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Cast: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp
Seen on: 05.05.2015

Plot:
Margaret (Amy Adams) just went through a divorce and moved to San Francisco with her daughter, ready to start a new life. She finds a rather unexciting job and spends her weekends trying to sell her portrait skills. There she meets fellow artist Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) and the two of them hit it off. A short while later, they get married. When Margaret starts signing her paintings KEANE, bit by bit Walter starts to take credit for them. Margaret is appalled at first, but since Walter manages to sell the paintings very well, she gives in. But that deal can’t work forever.

Big Eyes is almost a return to very early Burton movies and the more restrained style he employed then (I’m saying more restrained and not actually restrained, because let’s face it, restraint was never his thing). I enjoyed it, though I really wish that the script had been written by a woman.

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Toby Dammit (1968)

Toby Dammit is one of the short film segments of Histoires extraordinaires
Director: Federico Fellini
Writer: Federico Fellini, Bernardino Zapponi
Based on: Edgar Allan Poe‘s short story Never Bet the Devil Your Head
Cast: Terence Stamp, Salvo Randone, Marina Yaru

Plot:
Toby Dammit (Terence Stamp) is a rising star. His turn as Hamlet just brought him fame and accolades when he heads to Italy to do an Italowestern take on the life of Jesus. But Toby is drugged out of his mind and he didn’t come alone – the devil in the form of a little girl (Marina Yaru) followed him. At an award ceremony where Toby is laudated, things start to get really out of control.

Toby Dammit was shown as the pre-film to Cuadecuc, vampir (review follows) and I didn’t pay it much attention beforehand. But it turns out that it is a really cool short film, well made, with a sense of humor and a great Terence Stamp. I’m actually kind of disappointed now that they didn’t show the entire anthology (three directors taking on three different Poe short stories).

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Song for Marion (2012)

Song for Marion
Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Writer: Paul Andrew Williams
Cast: Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston

Plot:
Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) and Arthur (Terence Stamp) have been married for a long time, despite being opposites: Marion enjoys life to the fullest, while Arthur’s main hobby is being grumpy. But now Marion is slowly dying of cancer. She still spends a lot of her energy in the local seniors’ choir though, led by Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton) and tries to reconcile Arthur and their son James (Christopher Eccleston). After Marion dies, Arthur at first risks to fall into complete social isolation. But somehow he ends up taking over Marion’s hobby, singing in the choir.

I went into Song for Marion expecting a fluffy piece of entertainment, with nice music and some good laughs. And I got all that. But what I didn’t expect, but ended up having anyway, was a crying fit (in the best of ways) – I basically started during minute 2 and only stopped when the credits started rolling.

Song-for-Marion

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The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The Adjustment Bureau is George Nolfi‘s directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick‘s story, starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Terence Stamp and in a cameo Jennifer Ehle.

Plot:
David Norris (Matt Damon) is a very promising young politician. He meets Elise (Emily Blunt) and they’re immediately attracted to each other. But something seems to be keeping them apart. As David is soon to find out, it’s not just fate: There’s a whole organisation – The Adjustment Bureau – that makes sure that things happen according to plan. And David’s plan has him without Elise. But David can’t accept that.

The Adjustment Bureau is well-paced and well-acted but the religious overtones of the story just got a little too much for me. Still, it’s very enjoyable.

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Valkyrie (2008)

Valkyrie is the story of the – in the end unsuccessful – coup Stauffenberg staged in WW II to get rid of Hitler. It stars Tom Cruise and a legion of talented supporting actors and it’s directed by Bryan Singer.

Plot:
Stauffenberg doubts the war Hitler is waging on the world. After he is wounded during a bombing in Africa, he is contacted by the German resistance. Together they develop a plan to overthrow Hitler. And if the plan doesn’t succeed, at least, to show the world that not everybody in Germany simply followed along.

This film had to take a lot of crap, even before it had even started or was done shooting. Casting Tom Cruise was an unpopular choice, the wild mix of accents was criticised etc etc.
Plus the marketing in Austria and Germany still claimed Stauffenberg as the unknown hero of WW II, which might be true in the US, but definitely isn’t here.
Therefore, I went into this film with mixed feelings and rather low expectations. Fortunately, I should have trusted Bryan Singer. Because he is damn good.

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