Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater

Plot:
Mason (Ellar Coltrane) grows up with his mother (Patricia Arquette) and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), while his dad (Ethan Hawke) is a bit of an irregular, if enthusiastic presence in his life. Mason’s mom generally isn’t very lucky with men, which means that Mason’s life isn’t the calmest either. As he grows from boy to young man, though, he has to decide what his life should be.

Boyhood has gotten a lot of buzz and a lot of people practically falling over each other to praise it. And while I think that is a very good film, I didn’t quite get as excited about the film as most other people seemed to get.

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Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Christopher McQuarrieJez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Based on: Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton

Plot:
Humanity is at war with aliens and slowly losing. William Cage (Tom Cruise) is the face of the United Defense Force. But just the face – until he is sent into combat by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson). Cage practically has to be dragged there and is promptly killed by an alien – only to awake again about 12 hours before his death. Together with the war heroine Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who has been through the same thing, he tries to put an end to the aliens.

Edge of Tomorrow is an exciting film with great special effects. It leaves no action movie cliché unfeatured, but it does so most charmingly. If you’re able to accept that this film will give you only tried and true tropes, storytellingwise, you’re in for a really good time.

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Così fan tutte

Così fan tutte
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (music) / Lorenzo Da Ponte (libretto)
Cast: Anett Fritsch, Paola Gardina, Andreas Wolf, Juan Francisco Gatell, Kerstin Avemo, William Shimell
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Plot:
Ferrando (Juan Francisco Gatell) is engaged to Dorabella (Paola Gardina) and Guglielmo (Andreas Wolf) to Fiordiligi (Anett Fritsch) and both couples are very much in love. They are staying with Don Alfonso (William Shimell) and his wife Despina (Kerstin Avemo). Don Alfonso is convinced of the fickleness of women and Ferrando and Guglielmo agree to a bet with him: They will dress up as strangers and try to seduce the fiancées of the other guy. But will that end well?

This production of Così fan tutte is extremely slick – from the stage design to the costumes, from the acting to the music, everything is just really glossy and smooth. For me, it hit a couple of wrong notes (no pun intended), but it was beautiful.

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Box in the Big Trunk

Box in the Big Trunk
Director: Kuro Tanino
Writer: Kuro Tanino
Cast: Ikuma Yamada, Ichigo Iida, Momoi Shimada, Taeko Seguchi
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Plot:
A student, stressed out by exams and his relationship with his father, finds himself in a weird and fantastical world, where a pig-woman and a sheep-woman live who mostly try to be helpful but actually aren’t at all. The student finds himself confronted with his repressed sexuality and pretty much all the penises in the world.

Box in the Big Trunk meanders wildly between cringeworthy and wonderfully absurd. At times it is very funny. But mostly its premise remains boring and probably only interesting if you have a penis and struggle with your sexuality.

boxinthebigtrunk

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Mirrorscape (Mike Wilks)

Mirrorscape is a novel by MIke Wilks.

Plot:
Mel is a poor boy with a big talent: he can draw. That’s why he is recruited as an apprentice to one of the greatest artists around. Mel is excited, not only because it means moving to the big city, but it also means that he will finally be allowed to use color, since pigment is strictly limited as a Pleasure by the Fifth Mystery. But trouble is brewing in Mel’s world and as he enters the world of paintings – quite literally – he gets more and more drawn into said trouble.

Mirrorscape starts with a couple of interesting ideas but unfortunately doesn’t manage to handle them very well. The writing feels like the author confused “written for children” with “written for stupid people” – which is especially annoying when you read it as an adult.

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Vampyr (1932)

Vampyr
Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Writer: Christen Jul, Carl Theodor Dreyer
Based on: Sheridan Le Fanu‘s book In a Glass Darkly, which contains the novella Carmilla
Cast: Julian West, Rena Mandel, Sybille SchmitzMaurice Schutz

Plot:
Allan Gray (Julian West) arrives in a small village where he is soon swept up in somehow supernatural affairs. It starts when a strange man enters his hotel room and leaves apparently his last will and testament there but gets even worse from thereon out. Allan is haunted by weird dreams that lead him to the local castle and the daughters of its owner, Giséle (Rena Mandel) and Léone (Sybille Schmitz). Léone appears to be anaemic, but there are also strange bitemarks.

Vampyr was shown right after Invocation of My Demon Brother at the Filmmuseum and they both share a certain disorienting quality. It was much more of a fault for Vampyr, but the film’s atmosphere and the wonderful visual effects make up for it.

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Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969)

Invocation of My Demon Brother
Director: Kenneth Anger
Writer: Kenneth Anger
Cast: Kenneth Anger, Bobby Beausoleil, Bill Beutel
[You can watch it here.]

Invocation of My Demon Brother is a short film that doesn’t really have a plot. Rather it’s a sequence of impressionistic images revolving around satanic ritualy, with sounds (difficult to call it music) by Mick Jagger. Watching it is a disorienting experience  That I probably wouldn’t have endured much longer than the 10 minutes it’s long, especially because of the “music”. But for the time it lasted it was kinda a cool experience.

invocation-of-my-demon-brother

Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler

Bill Bailey came to Vienna with his Qualmpeddler program.

Bill Bailey’s show is a mix of music show, normal stand-up and utter lunacy. He is a proficient musician and really uses that for his show, creating surprising musical numbers with a lot of knowledge and respect of but not much reverence for genres. And he’s just a smart man with a lot of funny stories.

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Macbeth

Macbeth
Director: Brett Bailey
Writer: Brett Bailey, Fabrizio Cassol (music)
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s play Macbeth / Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera
Cast: Owen Metsileng, Nobulumko Mngxekeza, Otto Maidi
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Plot:
Macbeth (Owen Metsileng) is a warlord in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Witches foretell him that he will achieve great things. Hungry for power, Macbeth and his wife (Nobulumko Mngxekeza) are intrigued by the prospect – and what better place to ruthlessly rise than a country at war? So Macbeth succeeds, at least at first.

I’m not the world’s biggest opera fan, but I was very much intrigued by the concept of this one. And the actual thing very much does the concept justice: the music is cool the stage and setting awesome and I as completely engrossed.

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La belle et la bête [Beauty and the Beast] (2014)

La belle et la bête
Director: Christophe Gans
Writer: Sandra Vo-Anh, Christophe Gans
Based on: the fairy tale
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux, André Dussollier, Yvonne Catterfeld

Plot:
After his ships sink, a rich merchant (André Dussolier) is left destitute. He has to move to a small cottage in the countryside, much to the chagrin of all his children, except Belle (Léa Seydoux), who loves life on the country. One day, after trying to get their money back in the city, the merchant becomes lost in the woods. He happens upon a castle where nobody seems to be, but a rich feast is there for him to take. But when he also tries to take a rose for Belle, a beast (Vincent Cassel) appears and demands that the merchant be his prisoner for the theft. The merchant agrees but asks to see his children one last time, a wish the beast grants. But when Belle hears about the sacrifice, she offers herself in her father’s stead, setting a whole string of events in motion.

Beauty and the Beast is a problematic story (hello, consent issues and Stockholm syndrome!), but I honestly thought that I had seen the worst possible version of it in Beastly. Well, La belle et la bête fights extremely hard for that spot.

labelleetlabete[SPOILERS]

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