A United Kingdom (2016)

A United Kingdom
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Guy Hibbert
Based on:  Susan Williams’ book Colour Bar
Cast: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto, Jessica Oyelowo, Vusi Kunene, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Arnold Oceng, Abena Ayivor
Seen on: 3.4.2017

Plot:
Ruth (Rosamund Pike) works as a clerk and would mostly have a boring life if her sister (Laura Carmichael) didn’t drag her out every once in a while. On one of those outings, Ruth meets Seretse (David Oyelowo). He is charming, good-looking and taken by Ruth. But as Ruth discovers he is not just a student, but also the prince and future ruler of Bechuanaland. Despite the difficulties by their difference in status, the two want to get married, not anticipating that the real (diplomatic) scandal for both Bechuanaland and Great Britain is the fact that their relationship is an interracial one.

A United Kingdom covers a bit of history that is virtually unknown here (Austria or most likely Europe or the global North in general) and Asanta packs this fascinating story into an easily understood and emotionally engaging film with a great cast.

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Belle (2013)

Belle
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Misan Sagay
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sam Reid, Tom Wilkinson, Emily WatsonPenelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, James Norton, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode

Plot:
18th century Britain. John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) had a relationship with a black woman which resulted in a daughter. He decides to accept Belle as his own despite being a nobleman and she being black and brings her to his aunt and uncle, Lady (Emily Watson) and Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) while he himself has to go back to sea. Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) grows up as a noblewoman together with her cousin Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon). But in a country where slavery is still going strong, Belle will never be a fully accepted member of society.

Belle was a wonderful film: sweet, romantic, political, feminist, outspoken and beautiful. It became my favorite Jane Austen movie without actual Jane Austen involvment straight away.

belle

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the prequel to Planet of the Apes. It was directed by Rupert Wyatt, written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and stars James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine, David Hewlett and Ty Olsson.

Plot:
Will (James Franco) is trying to develop a new drug that is supposed to combat Alzheimer’s. They are testing them on apes already and seeing good results. But right when they’re trying to take this a step further, something goes terribly wrong and Bright Eyes – they’re most successful ape – attacks her caretaker Robert (Tyler Labine). So the experiment is shelved. But Bright Eyes only freaked out because she had a baby – Caesar (Andy Serkis). Will takes Caesar in and soon discovers that he shows extraordinary mental faculties. And since Will’s father Charles (John Lightgow) suffers from Alzheimer himself, Will decides that he will continue the testing quite illegally.

I expected Rise of the Planet of the Apes to suck very hard. But I was pleasantly surprised by it – the performances are excellent, the script didn’t suck most of the time and the CGI was pretty good. Apart from a few moments where they just lost me, I really enjoyed myself.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the last movie in the Harry Potter series originally written by Joanne K. Rowling. The film was directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and starring pretty much every British actor ever Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs, Warwick Davis, Bonnie Wright, David Thewlis, Ciarán Hinds, Julie Walters, Kelly Macdonald, John Hurt, Helen McCrory, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Robbie Coltrane, Jamie Campbell Bower, Gary Oldman and Emma Thompson.

Plot:
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) slowly uncovers the final secrets surrounding his life while his fight with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) draws to an end. After pretty much everything has gone to hell, things – and people – are finally coming together for the final battle while Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) try to destroy the remaining horcruxes.

After HPatDH:1 2 pretty much had to be a cinematic revelation (I still can’t believe how boring 1 was), just in comparison. And that worked out. Is it the best movie ever? Well no, David Yates is still its director. But it’s a decent and fitting ending to the series.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is – as you all probably now – Number 7 in a series of seven books by Joanne K. Rowling. It was made into two movies, this here is Part 1, which was directed by David Yates and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, (continuing in no particular order) Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham-Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Jamie Campbell Bower, Timothy Spall, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, John Hurt, Miranda Richardson, Warwick Davis and Michael Gambon.

Plot:
[Hell, if you don’t know what Harry Potter is about, you might not want to start here. Anyway.]
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) leave school to find and destroy the horcruxes that keep Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) alive. But the search is more difficult and dangerous than they anticipated.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I think both the books as well as the movies have reached their peak with number four (though The Prisoner of Azkaban is a close second). HPatDH1 did nothing to change my point of view on that. The pacing’s bad, the direction is worse and there’s no reason to drag this out in two films, since nothing really happens in this one anyway.

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