Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission: Impossible
Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: David Koepp, Steven Zaillian
Based on: The TV Series
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave
Seen on: 03.08.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is part of a team of spies led by Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). Their newest mission is supposed to prevent the sale of classified material. But things go very wrong and Ethan’s entire team is killed. All but Jim’s wife Claire (Emmanuelle Béart) that is. When Ethan’s loyalty is called into question and he is suspected of killing them off himself, he knows that he has to uncover and solve this mystery. Together with Claire, they ask Franz (Jean Reno) and Luther (Ving Rhames) for help, both disavowed agents and they take on the case.

Mission: Impossible follows the spy formula to the letter and while the plot doesn’t offer much that’s new, the execution is beautiful, although not exactly flawless.

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The Bostonians (1984)

The Bostonians
Director: James Ivory
Writer: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Based on: Henry Jamesnovel
Cast: Christopher Reeve, Vanessa RedgraveMadeleine Potter, Jessica Tandy, Wesley Addy, Linda HuntWallace Shawn
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 14.6.2015

Plot:
Olive Chancellor (Vanessa Redgrave) is an outspoken and enthusiastic feminist, and as such deeply suspicious to her cousin Basil Ransom (Christopher Reeve), a conservative lawyer from New York who is visiting her in Boston. Despite Basil’s distrust of the feminist movements, Olive takes him to an event where they hear Verena Tarrant (Madeleine Potter) gives a speech on the subject. Both Olive and Basil are fascinated by Verena – in Basil’s case despite of what she’s saying. As Basil returns to New York, Olive takes Verena under her wings, grooming her as a feminist fighter. But Basil, too, can’t stop thinking about her.

The Bostonians bored me to pieces. The cast wasn’t bad, but the plot left me completely bewildered and annoyed.

bostonians

[SPOILERS]

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Foxcatcher (2014)

Foxcatcher
Director: Bennett Miller
Writer: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Cast: Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave
Part of: Surprise movie at the Viennale

Plot:
Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) are brothers and successful wrestlers, although Mark has always been in the older Dave’s shadow. But when the rich John du Pont (Steve Carell) approaches Mark to be the star of his Olympic wrestling team and in fact, put that team together, Mark sees an opportunity to finally get his own place in the spotlight. Instead, though, Dave joins them as the team’s coach and the increasingly erratic du Pont shifts his focus on Dave, leading to a completely unstable situation.

Foxcatcher has to be one of the most boring movies I’ve ever seen. It felt like it happened it real time – and since the film covers a period of a few months, of not more than a year, that certainly isn’t a good thing. And ultimately, when you’ve sat through the entire ordeal, it leads you nowhere at all.

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The Butler (2013)

The Butler
Director: Lee Daniels
Writer: Danny Strong
Based on: Wil Haygood’s article
Cast: Forest WhitakerOprah WinfreyDavid Oyelowo, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Nelsan Ellis

Plot:
Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) grew up on a cotton farm where he officially wasn’t a slave anymore but he practically was. When he was old enough, he left there and after a period of hardship was lucky enough to find employment. Bit by bit he works his way up to becoming a butler and finally gets recruited into the White House. But racism is still a major issue.

The Butler has a great cast and the time passes rather quickly when you watch it, but it’s a manipulative film (which I was prepared for and which isn’t generally bad) that is so sweet that it leaves you in desperate need of insulin to manage it. And that was just too much.

The_Butler

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Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Mark Rylance
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones, Lloyd Everitt, Beth Cooke, James Garnon, Danny Lee Wynter, Michael Elwyn

Plot:
Benedick (James Earl Jones) and Claudio (Lloyd Everitt) with their superior Don Pedro (James Garnon) just returned from the war. They come to Leonato’s (Michael Elwyn) where they wish to stay for a while. Claudio immediately falls in love again with Leonato’s daughter Hero (Beth Cooke) while Benedick and Leonato’s niece Beatrice (Vanessa Redgrave) fight as much as they’re able to. Pedro wants to see everybody end up together, while Pedro’s half-brother John (Danny Lee Winter) does his best to sabotage everything.

It had been a while that I saw any version of this play, but I remembered that it was funny. And with Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in the cast, I thought that I was all set for an entertaining evening. But I was wrong. Incredibly wrong. Oh boy, I don’t think I was ever that wrong before.

muchado

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The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2012)

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh
Director: Rodrigo Gudiño
Writer: Rodrigo Gudiño
Cast: Aaron Poole, Vanessa Redgrave
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
After the death of his estranged mother (Vanessa Redgrave), Leon (Aaron Poole) comes to her house for the first time. As he slowly moves through it, he finds not only some weird proverbs but also discovers that apparently the entire house is a kind of church for the weird angel cult he and his mother had the falling out over. Soon Leon feels like he is not the only one in the house.

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh lives off its visuals. Unfortunately, that is not enough to really make it a compelling movie. It tries very hard but it doesn’t work out.

thelastwillandtestamentofrosalindleigh

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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 Whistleblower (2010)

The Whistleblower
Director: Larysa Kondracki
Writer: Larysa Kondracki, Eilis Kirwan
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci, David Strathairn, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Roxana Condurache, Paula Schramm, Alexandru Potocean, Jeanette Hain, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Hewlett, Luke Treadaway, Liam Cunningham

[Trigger Warning]

Plot:
Kathryn (Rachel Weisz) is a cop who lives for her job. That even cost her her marriage and the custody of her daughter. Now her ex-husband is moving away and Kathryn can’t get a transfer to move after her daughter. So she takes up an offer to go to Bosnia and work for the UN there (through a private contractor). What at first was only supposed to be a way to get a lot of cash fast, turns into much more when Kathryn realizes that there is a lot of sex trafficking going on – and that the people she works with are deeply involved.

The Whistleblower is a hard film. It’s the kind of film that makes you want to not live in this world. It’s excellently made and depressing as hell, especially since it is based on a true story and only has a semi-positive ending. But I do think it is important that you watch it. Just bring chocolate and friends and rainbows.

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Coriolanus (2011)

Coriolanus
Director: Ralph Fiennes
Writer: John Logan
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s play
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox, John Kani, James Nesbitt

Plot:
Caius Martius (Ralph Fiennes) is a celebrated general, even though he is not particularly popular with the people of Rome who are starving because the rations go to the military instead of them. Caius Martius fights his blood-enemy Aufidius (Gerard Butler) in Corioles and is victorious, which gives him enough leverage to run for consul. Even though Caius Martius isn’t completely sold on the idea, his mother (Vanessa Redgrave) pressures him and he finally caves. But not everyone is a fan of Caius Martius and he quickly finds himself in trouble.

The play and John Logan’s script are really good, as is the cast. But the movie left me pretty cold – not only did I hate the camera work, the pacing was just off.

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Anonymous (2011)

Anonymous
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: John Orloff
Cast: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, David Thewlis, Edward Hogg, Xavier Samuel, Sam Reid, Jamie Campbell Bower

Plot:
Edward De Vere (Rhys Ifans) is the Earl of Oxford and as such it is very much frowned upon that he writes plays, even though the aging Queen Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave) loves (his) plays very much. But Edward has the idea of letting the rather unknown writer Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) take credit for his plays. But instead the obnoxious actor William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) puts his name to it – and that is only where the trouble starts for Edward.

Holy crap, this movie was bad. I mean, I expected it to be bad, but I also expected it to be entertaining with it. But when I wasn’t headdesking, I was bored. Not what I think of as a good time. It does have its moments, but they are few and far between.

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