Listed in reverse chronological order, more or less.
- Florence Foster Jenkins
The humorous true story of a woman who can't sing, but unfortunately possesses the financial means and the connections
to do so publicly (in Carnegie Hall, no less) anyway. Quite entertaining, with the main characters well played
by Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I didn't think I'd ever see anything even remotely connected to Harry Potter, but here we are. Some magical creatures escape
their wizard owner and need to be caught, while avoiding capture by other, more evil-minded wizards. Nice creature effects,
especially in 3D, but not a particularly engaging story. Probably successful enough to start a new franchise, though :-|
- Bridget Jones' Baby
15 years later, a baby is on its way, and although otherwise as unprepared as ever, Bridget is determined to make the new earthling
welcome. Step 1 is determining the father, as it might not be Mark. Oops. Emma Thompson as her gynaecologist provides a good dose
of dry humour, and besides some sappy moments, the film does have its moments. If you liked the previous movies, you'll like this one as well.
- Young Frankenstein
Halloween provided a good opportunity for this classic horror comedy, in which Frankenstein's grandson sets out to prove that
he learned the lesson of his grandfather not to mess about with human life ... by messing about with human life. Although shot
in the Seventies, the movie is in B&W, and its cinematography is distinctly similar to the 1931 film starring Boris Karloff.
Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman help give it a decidedly comedic update, though, which makes for fun entertainment.
The latest Dan Brown film is still more fast-paced than previous ones, since here humanity's future is at stake in the shape
of a virus that could do who knows what if released. Florence, Venice and Istanbul are the stops, and Tom Hanks reliably guides
the viewer through their respective sights. I recommend to read the book first in order to understand why there is a lot of
running, shouting and shooting in the movie, sort of like how films based on Tom Clancy novels work.
- Twilight's Last Gleaming
A thriller from cold war times when accidentally setting of nuclear missiles (or bad guys setting them off on purpose)
was a common nightmare scenario. This one falls a bit flat, even though it has some uncommon elements, like the motivation
of the baddies (essentially working through the US Vietnam war trauma). Can't recommend it, not that you're likely to catch it somewhere.
- Die Stadt als Beute
A fascinating look at the real estate business in Berlin through the lense of all involved parties, what it's been doing
to the city, and what it likely will still do. Londonization might be one way to phrase it, but here entire
neighborhoods that by historical accident had existed on both sides of the Wall are upended, along with all the
low income earners that happened to live there, and can no longer afford it. Politicians recognize the issue, but have
so far (15 years and counting) failed to do much about it. The juicy profits of the real estate business no doubt make
for good party donations.
- Jason Bourne
Ever more an action series, the chases dominate the movie, even more than the number of secret programs (now up to 10,
apparently at a rate of 2 per film). Julia Stiles is out, and Alicia Vikander is in, so JB still has an inside connection
to the CIA, which he'll probably put to good use in the next instalment. As to the plot, JB discovers who killed his father,
and proceeds to dispatch the killer from this earth, with extreme prejudice.
The story of Thomas Wolfe being discovered by editor Maxwell Perkins, how they work together (Perkins having to do a huge
amount of editing on Wolfe's work), and how he lives through a few short years of fame until his untimely death.
While the title could refer to either man, the story is more about Perkins, while the acting is mostly by
Jude Law who impersonates Wolfe.
- Maggie's Plan
Falling in love just when you had resolved to become pregnant without a father around is a hindrance, but once you become
tired of him you can always return him to his ex. At least, that's the plan, and in the end, it works. The happenings in
between are funny and charming, if a bit sappy in places. Still, good entertainment.
- The Bostonians
A Merchant/Ivory production from before the time I was interested in such films, I got interested in Henry James by repeated
Brunetti reading; plus, a Boston story always interests me, so I finally saw this one. A suffragette speaker
has to choose between two destinies - a man she loves who will make her give up her activism, or her activism. While she
makes a disappointing choice, the story is rescued in the final scene that provides hope for the future. All in all, less
satisfying than other Merchant/Ivory films like Howard's End, A Room with a View or Remains of the Day.
- Ice Age: Collision Course
A bit of a roller coaster, with way too much weird weasel action (along some dino bird action reminiscent of the disappointing 3rd part).
Although good fun at times, it seems like the series has run out of fresh ideas, except for some extended Scrat scenes that send the
- Murder at The Gallop
Finally got around to seeing the last of the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple movies. The recipe is similar to Murder Most Foul
with 4 family members about to inherit assembled at a riding lodge, instead of actors in a hotel. Not sure what else to say - either
you like these movies or you don't.
- Vor der Morgenröte
A portrait of the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig in emigration up until his suicide. The film looks at his struggle on how
to position himself with respect to the goings-on in Europe, whether and how to help others to escape like he did,
and how to adapt to life far away from home. A more interesting film than I would have expected.
A mix of comedy and thriller about a woman who must decide which of numerous people coming after her for her recently deceased
husband's money she can trust. Not surprisingly in a Cary Grant movie, it's Cary Grant. Who also happens to be the one
who rides off into the sunset with the woman. And the money.
- The Princess Bride
An adventure action comedy wrapped in a children's fairy tale, with a sprinkling of magic and romance. But it's
enjoyable anyway thanks to everything else that's going on :-)
Catching up on Oscar winners, a story set in my former home town Boston that actually unfolded during the years I lived there:
the story of child molestation by Catholic priests, how the Boston Globe uncovered the depths of it including the cover-up
by the Church itself, and the deep roots the Catholic Church has in Boston. It's a well-told and well-shot story, without
outstanding acting - but that's perhaps as it should be, the better to put the spotlight on the story, and the team effort
required to report it (which later earned them a Pulitzer prize).
- Breakfast at Tiffany's
Great performance by Audrey Hepburn as a woman trying to make it in the world in whichever way she can while maintaining her
standards of life. I had avoided seeing this for a long time due to a mistaken idea of what a movie about a woman and Tiffany's
would be all about - but Truman Capote wouldn't write something like that.
Underground earthworms gobble up the inhabitants of a remote village one by one, but resourceful villagers are able to overcome
them by quick thinking, lots of personal firepower including dynamite, and a good dose of fearlessness in the face of adversity.
Yep, it's not a nature documentary, but good ole' American can-do attitude, not without its funny moments.
Gripping story about blacklisting in Hollywood, and how the most successful affected screen writer first circumvents, and then
overcomes the blacklist. Heroes include Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger, and villains John Wayne and Ronald Reagan.
A world without humans where predator and prey animals live in peace and harmony - yup, it's real, unlike Insectopia in Antz.
Not perfect, maybe, so a bunny police detective and a law-breaking fox set out to solve a string of animal disappearances. With a great cameo
of the Godfather, Mr. Big. It'a Disney movie, not a Pixar movie, so
geared more towards kids than adults, but with funny moments that still make it worthwhile watching, even if the moral of
the story is laid on rather too thick.
A rather unbelievable story that feels more like an action movie than an intelligence thriller, with Bond in a Superman-like role.
At least we now know that Bond was raised by Blofeld's father, and apparently Blofeld finally gets captured by police.
- The Man Who Knew Too Much
Joe Average turns into a bumbling investigator when his family is thrust into an espionage case on vacation. The couple
battle police, assorted intelligence agencies and various other baddies all the while solving the case, finding their abducted son,
and getting just about no help from anyone. A suspenseful movie, and no less believable than the average 007 flick.
- Hail, Caesar!
A look at the movie industry of the Fifties, with a take-charge Josh Brolin keeping the studo and everybody in line,
physically and mentally. Thus the studio's biggest star even gets out of an abduction by communist writers bent on
subverting, well, just about everything; a Soviet submarine also plays a role. Although touching on some serious subjects,
much hilarity ensues.
- The Lost World
The grandaddy of all dinosaur movies from 1925, after the original Conan Doyle novel. The dinosaur models were better,
if still visibly bad, than in some of the Godzilla et al. movies that came decades later. Being a silent film, we saw
it accompanied by piano and cello music, to good effect.
- Midnight Special (Berlinale)
A boy from a different planet ("above yours, we've been watching you for a long time") grows up on Earth and confuses people,
which causes the nuttier ones of them to organize a religion around him. When there's a chance for him to go back,
folks are like "Yeah, that makes sense, let's help him." and proceed to do so. The End.
- Boris Without Béatrice (Berlinale)
A self-centered man is forced to think through his life and his relationships to those around him when his wife has a
melancholic breakdown and a mysterious stranger (does he exist only in his mind?) prompts him to do so. Quickly he
realizes the errors of his ways, resolves to alter his personality, and starts to act accordingly. Not very convincing.
- Things to Come (Berlinale)
A woman loses her ailing mother to death, and her husband to another woman, thus enabling her to start a new life.
What does she do? True to her philosophy (which she teaches), basically nothing, just seeking an intellectually fulfilling
life with now fewer personal relationships. One wonders what the point of this movie is.
- The Road Back (Berlinale)
This 1937 follow-on to All Quiet on the Western Front tracks the group of soldiers back home after the armistice.
In some ways, it's more depressing than the war action, as many of the soldiers are not (yet) fit for home, nor is home
necessarily ready for the soldiers. The film leaves out numerous strands of the plot, so I recommend to read the book
(not that the film is likely to be widely available, being a reconstruction by the US Library of Congress).
- Zero Days (Berlinale)
This documentary about the Stuxnet attack (which in the IT security
community was a big deal, dividing time into before and after, much like the 9/11 attacks did elsewhere)
gets a number of high-level actors on camera, and also voices from inside the NSA and the Israeli
security apparatus to paint the bigger picture of where cyber warfare is at, and where it's going.
- Miles Ahead (Berlinale)
Don Cheadle brillantly plays Miles Davis in his high and low moments.
Not really a biopic, but more a series of vignettes that give some insight into Miles' musical and private life. Cheadle
-being present at this international premiere- was humble and graceful, furthering the impression of being a good man and actor.
Another classic comedy I hadn't seen before: James Stewart as a loveable alcoholic who has an imaginary 6 foot tall white rabbit
for a drinking companion. He doesn't succeed in making his drinking habit a family activity, so they try to keep him under locks.
They don't succeed, either.
- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
In memoriam Alan Rickman, who as Sheriff of Nottingham easily outperforms Kevin Costner as Robin Hood, and has obviously a lot of fun playing the evil one.
- Back to the Future Part II and Part III
I'm a bit behind with these two, but October 2015 having just passed it seemed a good time to catch up. Part 2 gets intellectually challenging
with lots of back and forth between 1955, 1985 and 2015, and duplicate versions of the main characters from different times interacting with
one another, but Part 3 settles everything after a detour through the Wild West of 1885. Still entertaining, especially about seeing what did,
and what did not, come to pass in 2015 - hoverboards being especially timely.
- Mr. Holmes
Not based on an actual Sherlock Holmes story, here an aging Holmes battles with early-stage dementia, and tries to recall
the facts of his last case that prompted him to retire 30 years earlier. It's more a story of aging, and obtaining closure
in life, than a criminal case.
- Ice Age: Continental Drift
A funny reboot of the Ice Age series after the somewhat disappointing Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Thrown onto a
drifting piece of ice, the cast must battle pirates manning an iceberg before finding their way back to dry land. The franchise
seems secured well into the future by introducing the family of the sloth and finding a companion for the saber-toothed tiger.