Things look normal: Henry (Liam Mitchell) and Patricia (Barbara Bleier) are celebrating Patricia’s birthday with their friends – Patricia’s ex Julian (Austin Pendleton), Chris (David Johnson) and Ayden (Juri Henley-Cohn) who both have found surrogate parents in Henry and Patricia, and Ayden’s partner Breyanna (Suzette Gunn). As their talking turns to politics, it becomes clear, though, that tensions are high and ouright nuclear war seems just around the corner.
Usually nuclear war is used in films to conjure up a post-apocalyptic scenario, or it is used as a threat that the (action) heroes of the story have something to prevent. In Sunset’s case, it’s the backdrop for a thorough and thoughtful character study that stumbles sometimes, but remains engaging throughout.
Barnaby (Murphy Patrick Martin) is 29, but so far he successfully avoided growing up. But it’s time to face life when his girlfriend Elaina (Hayley Ambriz) breaks up with him and his parents (Sherry Driggs, Rocky Hart) kick him out of their house the very same day to try and force him to get a job. Barnaby finds himself living in his car and still trying to avoid any kind of responsibility. When hunger motivates him to go to his high school reunion (in the hope of finding a buffet there), he runs into Madison (Diana Cristina) and the two re-connect. And maybe Madison can give Barnaby the final push he needs.
29 to Life is very obviously a film by a young man made without a budget who hasn’t made a feature before. How forgiving you are about the drawbacks that come with that will vary. Personally, I struggled a little with Barnaby and the male perspective that permeates the script. That being said, it does have its sweet touches.
Wayward Sisters is a comic anthology edited by Allison O’Toole.
Finished on: 31.3.2018
[I got a review copy of this anthology. You can get it here.]
After the beautiful cover by Alise Gluškova and a nice, short foreword by Faith Erin Hicks, Wayward Sisters gives us a collection of wonderful short comics, created exclusively by female and gender non-conforming artists and featuring almost exclusively female monsters. As usual with anthologies, not every story will hit you hard, but I found that Wayward Sisters was one of the most consistently strong anthologies I’ve ever read. It features stories as different in tone as in art style and there should be something there for everyone. For me, there were several somethings that hit me in various sweet spots.
After the jump, there’s more about each of the stories separately.
Laxmi (Vibhawari Deshpande) has been a sex worker for quite a while, always under the protection of Mhatre (Upendra Limaye). When he brings her a new girl, Putul (Chitrangada Chakraborty), she knows she has to show her the ropes, even though she doesn’t much care for it – or for the bubbly and mouthy Putul. When Putul’s defiance leads her to talk about revolution – working for themselves rather than Mhatre – Laxmi is reluctant at first, but knows that Putul – nicknamed Tikli – makes good points.
Tikli and Laxmi Bomb is a smart and engaging film. It tells an emotional story with great characters while thoroughly examining an unfair and oppressive system.
After the death of Superman (Henry Cavill) Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Ben Affleck) tries to put together a team of superheroes. Diana aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is already on board, but the recruitment of other team members is more difficult. Arthur Curry aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa) isn’t interested, Barry Allen aka The Flash (Ezra Miller) is very willing but also not easily pinned down and Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher) might even be dead. But when Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) attacks Diana’s home Themyscira to acquire an artefact, gathering forces becomes an even more pressing issues.
I expected bad things from Justice League and was pleasantly surprised by what we got. That’s not to say that Justice League is a good film overall, but at least it has its moments.
Helena (Julia Hummer) is an actress and a sex worker. She has a daughter, a strained relationship with her mother (Susanne Bredehöft) and is always looking for new possibilities. When she is approached to organize a special event with some of her colleagues, Helena takes the chance. But the event is not your usual escort gig.
Top Girl is a complex approach to sex work that I don’t necessarily agree with, but it gives the topic more thought than a lot of other films and it knows how to work emotions.
Plot: Maud (Sally Hawkins) needs to get out from under her family’s wing. She sees her opportunity when she learns that grumpy Everett (Ethan Hawke) is looking for a housekeeper. Even though he is hesitant to take her on because of her disability, he doesn’t exactly have much choice and Maud is persistent, so they give it a try. In her off time, Maud starts to paint and polishes her personal style, while also finding a home in the community and with Everett.
Althoughe Maudie is a sweet film, I’m not entirely happy with it. Some things I knew going in would bother me, other things crept up on me during the film. Nevertheless I found it entertaining.
Mark Felt (Liam Neeson) expected to be promoted to the head of the FBI when J. Edgar Hoover stepped down. Instead FBI outsider L. Patrick Gray (Marton Csokas) is. But even though he feels resentful about being passed over, it’s Gray’s handling of one of his first cases – a surveillance operation based, apparently, on unofficial orders from the White House – that really sours things for Felt. He decides to bring the information about the Watergate case anonymously. to the public.
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House shows that spying and whistle-blowing can be absolutely boring affairs. So boring, it’s astounding. I am honestly still in a state of disbelief how that happened.
Greta (Mira Partecke) is an architect and has a son she’s estranged from. When she unexpectedly loses her job, she desperately tries to get back on her feet. Or drink enough that she forgets that she has lost her footing. She doesn’t seem built to participate in the neoliberal gig culture in the city around her, but is there a place that isn’t within that culture?
Eine flexible Frau is somewhere between art film, narration and sociological cinema – and it’s a really good mix at that. It’s challenging cinema, but if you’re willing to let yourself be challenged, you can get a lot out of it.
Johnny (Josh O’Connor) lives with his parents Deirdre (Gemma Jones) and Martin (Ian Hart) on their farm. They spend their days working hard and at night, Johnny takes off to the local bar where he drinks way too much and hooks up with random strangers. But when Romanian farm hand Gheorghe (Alex Secareanu) makes his way to the farm, it pushes Johnny on a new, unexpected path.
God’s Own Country is a beautiful, touching film with great characters and a gay love story that actually gets to have a happy ending which is way too rare. I really loved it.