The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

The Man Who Knew Infinity
Director: Matt Brown
Writer: Matt Brown
Based on: Robert Kanigel‘s biography of Srinivasa Ramanujan
Cast: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm Sinclair, Raghuvir Joshi, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Arundathi Nag, Devika BhiseStephen Fry, Toby Jones, Jeremy Northam
Seen on: 19.7.2016

Plot:
Ramanujan (Dev Patel) works as a clerk in India, but his passion lies with mathematics. Unfortunately he finds nobody to listen to his theories and formulas because he doesn’t have any formal education. But then he manages to convince Francis Spring (Stephen Fry) to bring his notebook to England where it reaches G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) and fellow professor Littlewood (Toby Jones) at Cambridge. Hardy in particular is intrigued by the wild talent he sees in Ramanujan and arranges for him to come to the UK. Although he has to leave his wife Janaki (Devika Bhise) behind, Ramanujan can’t let this chance for recognition go and makes his way to England and academia.

The Man Who Knew Infinity covers an interesting story but it is stuck too much in storytelling and filmmaking conventions to leave much of an impression.

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Il racconto dei racconti [Tale of Tales] (2015)

Il racconto dei racconti
Director: Matteo Garrone
Writer: Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso
Based on: Giambattista Basile‘s fairy tale collection
Cast: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Hayley Carmichael, Bebe Cave, Stacy Martin, Christian Lees, Jonah Lees
Seen on: 2.9.2015

Plot:
The Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek) is desperate to have a child with her husband (John C. Reilly). But so far, all their attempts were unsuccessful. Yet another magical attempt finally brings the wished-for results, but at a price. In the meantime the King of Strongcliff (Vincent Cassel) has pretty much fucked everyone around him. But when he hears the sweet singing of a maid, he immediately falls in love. Only that the girl doesn’t want to show herself. In a third kingdom, the King of Highhills (Toby Jones) has a rather unusual pet that takes away his attention from his daughter Violet (Bebe Cave) who is waiting to be married.

Il racconto dei racconti is an adaptation of 17th century fairy tales and as one can imagine, things are not necessarily for the faint of heart, nor are they very friendly to women. But Garrone crafted an entertaining, visually stunning film from them in any case.

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Serena (2014)

Serena
Director: Susanne Bier
Writer: Christopher Kyle
Based on: Ron Rash‘s novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Rhys IfansDavid Dencik, Charity Wakefield, Sam Reid, Toby Jones, Sean Harris, Blake Ritson, Christian McKay
Seen on: 04.01.2015 [cornholio suggested I add that info to my posts, let me know what you think.]

Plot:
George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper) has a successful timber business and things seem to work out perfectly when he meets Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) on a trip. They fall in love and get married quickly and when George brings Serena back home, she immediately gets involved in the business, into which she has some insight. But not everybody is so happy about the new alliance and the intensity of George’s and Serena’s relationship also proves difficult.

Serena starts off well enough but then it pretty much implodes, leaving me feeling like it didn’t actually know what story it wanted to tell in the first place.

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Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Muppets Most Wanted
Director: James Bobin
Writer: James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller
Based on: Jim Henson‘s characters
Sequel to: The Muppets
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey
Cameos by [put in camouflage so you can still be surprised by the people who show up, if you don’t know already. If you wanna be surprised, don’t read the tags, either]: Tony Bennett, Hugh Bonneville, Jemaine Clement, Sean Combs, Rob Corddry, Mackenzie Crook, Céline DionLady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Tom HiddlestonTom Hollander, Toby Jones, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, James McAvoy, Chloë Grace Moretz, Usher Raymond, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Til Schweiger, Russell Tovey, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci, Christoph Waltz

Plot:
After solving their problems in the last film, the Muppets hit a bit of a low. They don’t really know what they should do now. That’s when Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) shows up and proposes a world tour to them. Kermit is hesitant but the others are in love with the idea. But Badguy has ulterior motives – he is teamed up with the most evil frog in the world, Constantine. And for his plan to work, Constantine impersonates Kermit while banishing the real Kermit to a Russian gulag.

I think I liked Muppets Most Wanted a little better than the first Muppets film. Maybe I’m starting to have more of a connection to the Muppets themselves. (There are so many Muppets in this paragraph alone. Muppets. Muppets. Muppets.) Either way, there is not much of a quality difference between this one and the first one.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: Captain America: The First Avenger
Cast: Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Robert RedfordAnthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Toby Jones, Stan Lee, Pat Healy
Part of: Marvel movies

Plot:
Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) tries adjusting to life in his own future but that’s not easily done. Especially when the few things he thought he could count on come crashing down around him. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is attacked and with him SHIELD, the mysterious and deadly Winter Soldier is after Steve and Steve finds himself almost entirely on his own. Only supported by Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) he tries to figure it all out.

Captain America was an extremely entertaining film and I did enjoy it a whole lot. They were certainly able to do better than with the first one, though it still isn’t a perfect film.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Sequel to: The Hunger Games
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour Hoffman, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson

Plot (with SPOILERS for the first one):
With the way the Hunger Games ended Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has definitely upset the system. So before she, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and their entourage travel from district to district on their victory tour, Katniss gets a visit from President Snow (Donald Sutherland). He lets her know without a doubt that rebellion of any kind on her part will not be tolerated – and that she has to make this clear to the districts as well, where unrest is brewing. Since it’s not only Katniss’ life that he threatens, but also that of her family and friends, Katniss complies as well as she can. And then the rug is completely pulled from under her when she and Peeta are drawn back into the 75 year special edition of the Games.

Where the second book was slightly worse than the first book, I thought that the second film was even better than the first. It’s a fantastic sequel, great adaptation and a wonderful film.

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Re-Watch: The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
The USA don’t exist anymore. In its place are 12 districts and the Capitol that has the districts under its thumb. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in district 12, where at 16 she’s basically taking care of her mother (Paula Malcomson) and sister Prim (Willow Shields). Which means that she breaks the laws daily to go hunting with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But Katniss’ life changes radically when the kids for the Hunger Games of that year are reaped. In the Hunger Games every year 24 kids, 2 more or less randomly chosen from each districts, are pitted against each other in a battle to the death until only one remains standing. And in this year 12-year-old Prim is chosen. In desperation Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place. And so Katniss travels to the Capitol together with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) the baker’s son – to certain death for at least one of them.

Despite actually getting the story for the third time, I was completely into it again and it made me cry. Again.

The-Hunger-Games

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Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

Berberian Sound Studio
Director: Peter Strickland
Writer: Peter Strickland
Cast: Toby Jones, Cosimo Fusco, Fatma Mohamed, Antonio Mancino, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Susanna Cappellaro

Plot:
Gilderoy (Toby Jones) is an English sound technician who has been hired to work on an Italian horror movie. Only that he didn’t know that it was a horror movie, doesn’t speak Italian and the entire company is more than weird. It starts with the apparent impossibility of getting his ticket reimbursed, continues with the eternal rudeness of his boss Francesco (Cosimo Fusco) to the irregular and disruptive appearances of the director Santini (Antonio Mancino). And Gilderoy gets sucked into the movie and this world more and more.

Berberian Sound Studio is an homage to Giallo movies, something I can only parrot here because I never actually saw one. But even when you don’t really have that connection, the film stands pretty well on its own, at least if you like the mindfuckery of Lynch-movies.

Berberian_Sound_Studio

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Re-Watch: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger
Director: Joe Johnston
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Toby Jones, Samuel L. Jackson
Part of: Marvel movies
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) dreams only of one thing: he wants to be able to do his duty for  his country and fight in WW2. Unfortunately, he is small and sickly and is never accepted into the army, unlike his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan). During one last attempt to sign up, he meets Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci). Erskine is convinced he sees the right morality in Steve to take part in his experiment: Erskine is trying to develop a supersoldier. Steve jumps at the chance – but that’s only the beginning of his journey.

I had forgotten how bad this movie actually was. I mean, it’s entertaining and the cast is brilliant and it does have its funny script moments, but generally it is not a movie that is very thought through.

captain_america

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Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman
Director: Rupert Sanders
Writer: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini
Based on: the Snow White fairy tale
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson, Vincent Regan

Plot:
10 years ago, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) killed the good king, imprisoned his daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and took over the kingdom with her evil magic. But now that Snow White turned 18, she managed to escape her imprisonment. Since Ravenna desperately needs Snow White’s youth and beauty for her own magic, she sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) after her. But soon he rather joins Snow White in her fight against Ravenna.

Snow White and the Huntsman is the kind of film that opens with an apple tree in full bloom and ripe apples at the same time which tells you everything you need to know about the film: it puts style so high over substance that it leaves all logic far, far behind. Which would have been okay, if it wasn’t also incredibly boring.

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