Fences (2016)

Fences
Director: Denzel Washington
Writer: August Wilson
Based on: his own play
Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola DavisStephen HendersonJovan AdepoRussell HornsbyMykelti WilliamsonSaniyya Sidney
Seen on: 6.4.2017

Plot:
Troy (Denzel Washington) and Rose (Viola Davis) have been married for a long time. Their son Cory (Jovan Adepo) is 18 and dreams of starting a football career. When a recruiter is taking interest in him, Cory is overjoyed. But Troy, who narrowly missed a career in baseball due to racist hiring practices, doesn’t allow Cory to meet with the recruiter, causing a rift in the family with his continuous attempts to control everything and everyone around him.

Fences is a beautifully acted film that has a couple of lengths and an ending that didn’t work for me, but definitely a film that drew me in regardless.

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Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Based on: various comic characters
Cast: Will SmithMargot RobbieJay Hernandez, Jai CourtneyAdewale Akinnuoye-AgbajeCara Delevingne, Joel KinnamanKaren Fukuhara, Viola Davis, Jared Leto, Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, David Harbour, Jim Parrack, CommonScott Eastwood, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 23.8.2016

Plot:
With the rise of superheroes and metahumans, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is convinced that the USAmerican government needs to fight back with metahumans that they control or they will be lost. She has come up with a plan to force a team of arrested metahumans in her employ in exchange for taking years of their sentence. When she stumbles on a way to control the archaeologist June Moon (Cara Delevingne) who was possessed by the millennia old Enchantress, Waller knows that with her, soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and metahuman Katana (Karen Fukuhara), she has a weapon strong enough to keep the involuntary team together. So she gets started with Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Chato Santana aka El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Slipknot (Adam Beach).

I really did not expect Suicide Squad to be any good, but it did manage to surprise me in the many ways it wasn’t good. Yet, I admit that there was a kind of hypnotic “can’t look away from this train wreck” vibe about it, and every once in a while it really did strike gold. So, I guess, I’m giving this film a more positive review than I thought I would? [Which is not to be confused with me saying that it’s any good.]

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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them (2014)

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them
Director: Ned Benson
Writer: Ned Benson
Cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Nina Arianda, Viola Davis, Bill Hader, Ciarán Hinds, Isabelle Huppert, William Hurt, Jess Weixler

Plot:
Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) used to be the perfect couple. But something happened and now they’re not. Eleanor is distant and doesn’t want any contact with Conor and Conor has trouble respecting that boundary. But Eleanor isn’t as done with Conor as it might seem at first and the question remains whether they can find back to each other or not.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby was good but not as great as it could have been. I expected a little more from the concept – TDoER: Them is a cut based on two films, TDoER: Him, which tells events from his perspective, and TDoER: Her, which tells them from hers. But the splice generally feels a little uneven.

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Prisoners (2013)

Prisoners
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Dylan Minnette, Zoe Borde

Plot:
It’s Thanksgiving and the Dovers are celebrating with their friends and neighbors, the Birchs. But when the little daughters of both families suddenly disappear, the festivities are quickly interrupted. As Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is called, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) quickly loses his temper. And when suspect Alex Jones (Paul Dano) is apprehended to be released soon afterwards, Keller decides to take justice into his own hands.

Prisoners has a rather similar theme as Big Bad Wolves, so it’s hard not to compare the two and in that comparison, Prisoners stays a bit behind – but that’s just because Big Bad Wolves was that exceptional. Prisoners is, in fact, a really good movie.

prisoners

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Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Beautiful Creatures
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Writer: Richard LaGravenese
Based on: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s novel
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, Emma Thompson, Eileen Atkins, Margo Martindale, Zoey Deutch

Plot:
Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) lives in the small South Carolina town of Gatlin. Ever since his mother’s death, his father pretty much hasn’t left his room and Ethan is taking care of him. He dreams of college and leaving. But recently he’s been having strange dreams of a girl. And then Lena (Alice Englert) shows up at his school. She’s the niece of the town’s supposed madman Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons). Ethan feels an instant connection with Lena, even recognizes her as the girl he dreamt about. But even more crazy things happen around and to Lena, and time is running out for her.

What the movie did to this book was incredible. From a nice, if not great young adult story, it was turned into a misogynistic, illogical, offensive crapfest. I actually had to shout DAFUQ several times.

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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writer: Eric Roth
Based on: Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel
Cast: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow, Zoe Caldwell, John Goodman, Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright

Plot:
Oskar’s (Thomas Horn) father (Tom Hanks) recently died in the 9/11 attack. Oskar has a hard time coping with it, when he stumbles upon a mysterious key in an envelope with the name “Black” on it in his father’s closet. Oskar decides that he has to find out more and the only logical way to go about it is to talk to every person called Black in New York. So he takes the phone book and starts to visit all of them.

The film is one of the most emotionally manipulative movies I have ever seen. Ever. And I still would have liked it a whole lot, if I hadn’t read the book. But in comparison, the film just leaves a small taste of disappointment.

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The Help (2011)

The Help
Director: Tate Taylor
Writer: Tate Taylor
Based on: Kathryn Stockett’s novel
Cast: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Ahna O’Reilly, Anna Camp, Sissy Spacek

Plot:
1960  in Jackson, Mississippi: Aibileen (Viola Davis) is a maid who is currently working for the Leefolt family, where she especially loves taking care of Mae Mobley, the Leefolts’ little girl. Her best friend is Minny (Octavia Spencer) who – quite contrary to Aibileen – usually gets in trouble because she won’t hold her peace. Which is not the best course of action for a maid. But when the white Skeeter (Emma Stone) looks for a maid to talk about her life, so she can write a book about it, it’s Aibilieen who jumps at the chance.

The Help is pretty much the perfect Christmas movie – sentimental, sweet and even more of a tear-jerker than the book (I was actually surprised that this was possible). A very nice way to shed some cathartic tears, despite a few weaknesses.

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Eat Pray Love (2010)

Eat Pray Love is Ryan Murphy‘s adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert‘s autobiographical book, starring Julia Roberts, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, James Franco, Javier Bardem and Richard Jenkins.

Plot:
Liz (Julia Roberts) drifts from relationship to relationship, first her husband (Billy Crudup), then a new boyfriend (James Franco). But she never seems to find what she’s actually looking for until she decides that she will interrupt her normal life to go on a year long trip to Italy (because of the food), India (because of an Ashram) and to Bali (because she’s been there and an old medicine man told her that she would be back).

I didn’t expect much from Eat Pray Love, but I like travel stories and I thought that the movie would at least entertain me. It didn’t. It dragged and dragged and dragged and sprinkled above it all was so much esoteric shit that not even the eye-candy (both the landscapes and the guys) could keep me interested. In short: I am so very happy that I didn’t spend any money on this.

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Knight and Day (2010)

Knight and Day is the newest movie by James Mangold, starring Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano and Jordi Mollà.

Plot:
June (Cameron Diaz) bumps into Roy (Tom Cruise) on her way home. She then ends up on the same flight as him, which is nearly empty. They start flirting, but while June goes to the bathroom to amp herself up, Roy goes ahead and kills all of the passengers – and the pilots – who happen to be spies trying to catch Roy who seems to be a rogue spy himself. Things go only downhill from there. A plane crash and approximately 5 conspiracy theories later, June is thoroughly tangled up in Roy’s world and has to tag along, rather reluctantly.

I didn’t expect much from Knight and Day – though the trailer did make me laugh – and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not a great movie, but it’s good entertainment and I laughed actually quite a bit. Though there were a few things that bothered me, altogether the film was pretty enjoyable.

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Doubt (2008)

Doubt is the adaptation of the Pulitzer Price winning play by John Patrick Shanley, who wrote the screenplay and directed the movie as well. It stars Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis.

Plot:
St. Nicholas is a catholic church and school. They have the first black student in 1964, who gets singled out by the priest, Father Brendan [Philip Seymour Hoffman], for special attention. After some incidents, a young nun, Sister James [Amy Adams], raises the suspicion that Father Brendan might be abusing the boy. Her superior, Sister Aloysius [Meryl Streep], starts a private war against the priest, trying to prove that he’s guilty.

Doubt has an exceptional screenplay with brilliant casting, showing a battle of wits between Father Brendan and Sister Aloysius that is a feast to watch. Unfortunately, the directing can’t keep up with the standards the writing and acting sets.

doubt

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