Re-Watch: Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Dangerous Liaisons
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Christopher Hampton
Based on: his play which is in turn based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, Swoosie Kurtz, Mildred Natwick, Peter Capaldi
Seen on: 29.1.2016

Plot:
The Victome de Valmont (John Malkovich) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) are thick as thieves, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Madame de Tourvel (MIchelle Pfeiffer) who is staying at his aunt’s (Mildred Natwick) summer home and who is widely known for her morals and her loyalty to her husband. The Marquise, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just got engaged to the naive Cécile (Uma Thurman) who has spent practically her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.

After having so recently seen the play that was the starting point for the film, I must say that I was very much disappointed by the movie. I thought John Malkovich was miscast and the film never really finds its step. Michelle Pfeiffer is a sparkling star in it, though.

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Burnt (2015)

Burnt
Director: John Wells
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy, Sam Keeley, Henry Goodman, Matthew Rhys, Stephen Campbell Moore, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander, Lily James
Seen on: 16.12.2015

Plot:
Adam (Bradley Cooper) was the rising star in the cooking world before alcohol and drugs got the better of him. When his career was completely destroyed (plus the career of some of his friends for good measure), he set himself  the penance of shucking a million oysters. Three years later he is sober and as he reaches the final oyster, he is ready to give his career a new start. Activating all his old connections and bullying himself into a restaurant kitchen, he is ready to get that third Michelin star.

Burnt is a film about an asshole that for some reason is be believed the coolest person on the planet. The best that I can say about it is that it’s watchable and the cast is good. Other than that, though, I was mostly annoyed by it.

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Re-Watch: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: Craig Titley
Based on: Rick Riordan’s novel
Cast: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Uma Thurman
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Percy Jackson’s (Logan Lerman) life is far from perfect. He’s dyslexic, suffers from ADHD and his mom (Catherine Keener) is married to an asshole. And then Percy finds out that his father is the god Poseidon, his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is a satyr and his teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur. But that’s only the start of his adventures since Zeus’ (Sean Bean) lightning bolt was stolen – and everyone thinks it was Percy who did it.

On re-watching the film it is at the same time less infuriating but also less fun than the first time round. It’s nice, but it also feels completely inconsequential. It’s the kind of film you watch and you don’t mind seeing it but you never think of it again as soon as it’s done.

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Movie 43 (2013)

Movie 43 (it’s a comedy anthology with the following segments)
Writer (for the most parts): Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, Steve Baker
The Thread (in the European version, that’s the framing device; in the US, I gather, it’s a different story)
Director: Bob Odenkirk
Cast: Devin Eash, Adam Cagley, Mark L. Young
The Catch
Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman
Homeschooled
Director: Will Graham
Cast: Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Jeremy Allen White
The Proposition
Director: Steve Carr
Cast: Chris Pratt, Anna Faris
Veronica
Director: Griffin Dunne
Cast: Kieran Culkin, Emma Stone
iBabe
Director: Steven Brill
Cast: Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Aasif Mandvi, Jack McBrayer
Superhero Speed Dating
Director: James Duffy
Cast: Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Bibb, John Hodgman
Machine Kids
Director: Jonathan van Tulleken
Writer: Jonathan van Tulleken
Middleschool Date
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh
Tampax
Director: Patrik Forsberg
Writer: Patrik Forsberg
Happy Birthday
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Gerard Butler
Truth or Dare
Director: Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg
Cast: Stephen Merchant, Halle Berry
Victory’s Glory
Director: Rusty Cundieff
Cast: Terrence Howard
Beezel
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel

Plot:
Calvin (Mark L. Young) and his best friend JJ (Adam Cagley) wanted to trick his little brother Baxter (Devin Eash) by making him look for a supposedly banned film that doesn’t actually exist – Movie 43. But Baxter actually finds something, and as they move from clip to clip they come ever closer to the truth.

People, heed my warning. I thought that a movie with that cast couldn’t possible be as bad as the trailer. “There must be something there,” I thought. “Something redeeming. It can’t possibly be all dick jokes, scatological humor and misanthropy?” Now I laugh in the face of my naivité. Because that really is all there is to this film: people behaving like disgusting assholes and we’re supposed to laugh about it. And all that remains after seeing the film is a question: Why? Why would anybody want to make such a film? Why are any of the actors involved in this? Why would anybody think that shit is funny? WHYYYYY????

movie-43

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Bel Ami (2012)

Bel Ami
Director: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod
Writer: Rachel Bennette
Based on: Guy de Maupassant‘s novel
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, Kristin Scott Thomas, Natalia Tenna, Holliday Grainger, Colm Meaney, Philip Glenister

Plot:
Georges (Robert Pattinson) just returned to France after serving as a soldier in Algeria. Pretty much penniless, he tries to get by on his looks when he runs into an old colleague, Forestier (Philip Glenister). Forestier invites Georges into his home, introduces him to his wife Madeleine (Uma Thurman) and several other influential people. Soon Georges’s luck is looking up, as he sleeps his way up the ladder: he starts an affair with Clotilde (Christina Ricci) and works at the newspaper La Vie Française run by Rousset (Colm Meaney), though his articles are written by Madeleine.

I was pretty certain that I would not like the character Bel Ami, but that (female) cast just drew me in, despite myself. Unfortunately not even their awesome put together is enough to balance the combination of Robert Pattinson in that role.

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Ceremony (2010)

Ceremony
Director: Max Winkler
Writer: Max Winkler
Cast: Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman, Lee Pace, Reece Thompson, Jake M. Johnson

Plot:
Sam (Michael Angarano) is a children’s books author whose books are neither succesful, nor actually for children. To catch up with his old friend Marshall (Reece Thompson), they head on a weekend trip together. Or at least, that’s the reason Marshall knows. In fact, Sam wants to crash the wedding of Zoe (Uma Thurman) and Whit (Lee Pace) to convince Zoe that Whit is an ass and she should be with him.

This movie seems a bit like a RomCom, but it definitely isn’t, not even an indie one. It’s more tragic than funny (apart from Lee Pace who is funny all the way through, despite a really bad [and badly written] English accent) and never achieves much momentum.

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Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is the adaptation of the first book in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. It was directed by Chris Columbus and stars Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd and Uma Thurman.

Plot:
Percy Jackson’s (Logan Lerman) life is far from perfect. He’s dyslexic, suffers from ADHD and his mom (Catherine Keener) is married to an asshole. And then Percy finds out that his father is the god Poseidon, his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is a satyr and his teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur. But that’s only the start of his adventures since Zeus’ (Sean Bean) lightning bolt was stolen – and everyone thinks it was Percy who did it.

The movie is fun, especially because of the supporting cast. But there are also a lot of infuriating things going on there: plot holes about 3 miles wide, Chris Columbus and the fact that the culprit was known 2 seconds after his first appearance. Still, it was definitely much better than Cirque du Freak.

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The Accidental Husband (2008)

The Accidental Husband is a RomCom, as typical as they come. Starring Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Firth and Isabella Rosselini, it has a rather strong cast, and all in all, is above average, qualitatively. Unfortunately, it starts with a rather strained premise and invokes cliché after cliché.

Emma is a successful relationship coach with her own radio show and a few books. She’s engaged to her publisher, Richard. During one of her shows, she advises a caller to break up with her fiancé Patrick, who also hears the broadcast. Patrick decides that he wants revenge and hacks the computer files of New York City: He “marries” himself to Emma. She finds out and seeks him out to have the marriage anulled. Turns out that maybe the relationship coach isn’t so firm in her own relationship. RomCom ensues.

the_accidental_husband

The Good Stuff:

  • It is very rare to actually have two hot guys in a RomCom. This one does, although Jeffrey Dean Morgan is slightly hotter, at least in my book.
  • It has some very nice jokes.
  • If you don’t think too much about it, it’s good entertainment.

theaccidentalhusband1
The scene they shamelessly stole from My Best Friend’s Wedding. And honestly, Rupert Everett was better.

The Bad Stuff:

  • Could the characters be any flatter? I don’t think so. Especially Colin Firth’s Richard suffered from the “my whole personality is summed up with one word”-syndrome.
  • Cliché, cliché, cliché.
  • Where did the Bollywoodness* suddenly come from? And where did it go to again?

the-accidental-husband

Summarising: Pretty average, but could have been a lot worse.

*I can’t stand the typical Bollywood movies that make it to Austria – meaning: pure kitsch, a lot of dancing and singing that doesn’t make any sense and so many plot twists and new developments that you can hardly keep up. I realise that those aren’t the only movies made in India. Or at least I really, really hope so.