Ballon [Balloon] (2018)

Ballon
Director: Michael Herbig
Writer: Kit Hopkins, Thilo Röscheisen, Michael Herbig
Cast: Friedrich Mücke, Karoline Schuch, David Kross, Alicia von Rittberg, Thomas Kretschmann, Jonas Holdenrieder, Tilman Döbler
Seen on: 6.10.2018
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Plot:
Peter (Friedrich Mücke) and Doris Strelzyk (Karoline Schuch) live in the GDR with their family, as do Günter (David Kross) and Petra Wenzel (Alicia von Rittberg). They would all like to leave the GDR, but exit is severely limited and they don’t have the right connections to get an exit visa. When they have the idea to fly across the border to West Germany in a home-made hot air balloon, they start the work. But their activities are noted by Seidel (Thomas Kretschmann) whose job it is to hunt down people who try to flee. And he is very good at it.

Ballon is an exciting, tense film that makes the repression in the GDR very tangible. I was surprised to get a film like this from Herbig who I only know as a comedy director – but it was in no way a bad surprise.

The film poster showing balloon silk burning.
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Central Intelligence (2016)

Central Intelligence
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Ike BarinholtzDavid Stassen, Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Dwayne JohnsonKevin HartAmy RyanDanielle NicoletJason BatemanAaron PaulRyan HansenThomas KretschmannKumail NanjianiMelissa McCarthy
Seen on: 23.6.2016

Plot:
When he was in high school, Calvin (Kevin Hart) was the star for everyone, but still with enough kindness in his heart to not bully the fat Bob (Dwayne Johnson) like everybody else did. But high school is long since over and Calvin may still have his smart and beautiful girlfriend Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) but otherwise he is stuck in a total rut and dreading the upcoming school reunion. That’s when he gets a call from Bob and decides, on a whim, to meet with him. On the surface Bob is much changed: he is still huge, but from muscles and there doesn’t seem to be the tiniest bit of fat on his body. He is still weird, though, and his obvious excitement to see Calvin again is flattering, but strange. And then things get worse: turns out, Bob works for the CIA and he’s in trouble – and Calvin is quickly more involved than he ever wanted to be.

I was very hesitant about wanting to see Central Intelligence. Its humor really didn’t seem up my alley. But then again I think Dwayne Johnson is funny as hell, so I had hopes that he would make the film work for me. And while the film is far from being my favorite, that is mostly what happened.

centralintelligence

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Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

Hitman: Agent 47
Director: Aleksander Bach
Writer: Skip Woods, Michael Finch
Based on: the video game series
Cast: Rupert FriendHannah WareZachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann, Angelababy, Jürgen Prochnow
Seen on: 10.9.2015

Plot:
Many years ago Dr. Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds) built the Agent Program: gentetically modified hitmen without remorse or fear. Realizing how dangerous this is, Litvenko disappeared, taking the science with him and making it impossible to create any more Agents. The Syndicate has been trying everything to restart the Program, but was unsuccessful. Now they’re desperate to find Litvenko. Litvenko’s daughter Katia (Hannah Ware) is also desperate to find her father and find out why he abandoned her. Just as she’s getting close, she meets John Smith (Zachary Quinto) who warns her that Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) is tracking her with orders to kill her.

I did not expect Hitman: Agent 47 to be a good film. In fact, it was the kind of film where puzzledpeaces and I packed a bottle of alcohol eached and just got really, really drunk during the film. For that it was perfectly chosen. For everything else, Hitman is a waste.

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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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Dracula 3D (2012)

Dracula 3D
Director: Dario Argento
Writer: Dario Argento, Enrique Cerezo, Stefano Piani, Antonio Tentori
Based on: Bram Stoker‘s novel
Cast: Thomas Kretschmann, Marta Gastini, Asia Argento, Unax Ugalde, Miriam Giovanelli, Giovanni Franzoni, Rutger Hauer
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Jonathan Harker (Unax Ugalde) just arrived in a small town in the middle of nowhere where his old friend Lucy Kisslinger (Asia Argento) managed to get him a job as a librarian with the local Count Dracula (Thomas Kretschmann). As Jonathan nervously starts his job while waiting for his wife Mina (Marta Gastini) to arrive as well, it becomes quickly clear that not all is right with the Count and the village.

Ever since the film was shown in Cannes a couple of years back, the /slash Filmfestival has been trying to get this film to Vienna. And finally they succeeded, and even managed to bring Dario Argento as well which is pretty damn awesome. Unfortunately I missed about half the program with him and only saw the rest of his audience talk and this film.

And while I understand Argento’s status as a living legend, Dracula really didn’t prove that it’s justified. In fact, the film was rather horrible.

dracula3d

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The Young Victoria (2009)

The Young Victoria was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, written by Julian Fellowes and stars Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson and Thomas Kretschmann.

Plot:
The movie tells the story of how Victoria became Queen Victoria and how she met her husband, Prince Albert.
Victoria (Emily Blunt) is the niece of the current King of England. Since she’s the only child of that generation, she’s going to inherit the throne. Her mother (Miranda Richardson), under the influence of Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong), tries to make her sign over the regency, which Victoria succesfully resists. But her mother is not the only one who wants to influence Victoria: Her uncle, the King of England (Jim Broadbent), sends her Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) as a political advisor and her other uncle, the King of Belgium (Thomas Kretschmann), sends her his nephew Albert (Rupert Friend) as a potential husband.

The movie is wonderful. I mean, of course it’s a kitsch-fest, but it’s a beautiful, well-acted kitsch-fest that hits all the right notes and manages to stay mostly historically accurate. What’s not to like?

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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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Wanted and Religion

I went to see Wanted the other day. I have to say, I’m not convinced. I expected cool special effects and mindless entertainment, and that’s what I got. But apparantly, I have to recheck my ability to turn my brain off, because it so didn’t work with this movie…

[THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!]

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