Sunset (2018)

Sunset
Director: Jamison M. LoCascio
Writer: Adam Ambrosio, Jamison M. LoCascio
Cast: Liam MitchellBarbara Bleier, Austin Pendleton, Suzette Gunn, Juri Henley-Cohn, David Johnson
Seen on: 2.6.2018
[Screener Review.]

Plot:
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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

29 to Life (2018)

29 to Life
Director: Alex Magaña
Writer: Alex Magaña
Cast: Murphy Patrick Martin, Diana Cristina (aka Diana Solis), Hayley Ambriz, Kaden Cole, Sherry Driggs, Rocky Hart
Seen on: 29.5.2018
[Screener Review.]

Plot:
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.

Continue reading

Wayward Sisters – An Anthology of Monstrous Women (Ed. by Allison O’Toole)

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.

Continue reading

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb (2017)

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb
Director: Aditya Kripalani
Writer: Aditya Kripalani
Cast: Vibhawari DeshpandeChitrangada ChakrabortySuchitra PillaiSaharsh Kumar ShuklaMia MaelzerDivya UnnyKritika PandeUday AtroliaUpendra LimayeMayur MoreVikas Shukla
Seen on: 3.3.2018
1-gif-review
[Screener review.]

Plot:
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.

Continue reading

Patti Cake$ (2017)

Patti Cake$
Director: Geremy Jasper
Writer: Geremy Jasper
Cast: Danielle MacdonaldSiddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, Bridget EverettCathy Moriarty, Patrick Brana, Sahr NgaujahMC Lyte, Anthony Ramos
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 25.10.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Patti (Danielle Macdonald) lives with her alcoholic mother Barb (Bridget Everett) and her sick grandmother (Cathy Moriarty) and works a thankless job. But she really comes to live when she starts rapping. Always supported by her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay), both morally and with beats, she’s constantly rhyming. But New Jersey isn’t necessarily a rapping hotbed, especially not for fat white women. But when Patti and Jheri stumble on punk artist Basterd (Mamoudou Athie), Patti is convinced that they have found the missing ingredient for their music to really take off. Plus, he’s intriguing and she’s curious.

Patti Cake$ had me leaving the cinema with a huge grin on my face, despite the fact that I did have some squabbles with it. It’s sweet and funny and the music is pretty great.

Continue reading

The White Girl (2017)

The White Girl
Director: Jenny Suen, Christopher Doyle
Writer: Christopher Doyle, Jenny Suen
Cast: Angela Yuen, Jeff Yiu, Tony Tsz-Tung Wu, Joe Odagiri
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 24.10.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
The White Girl (Angela Yuen) is allergic to sunlight. She lives with her father in a very sheltered home but her reclusive existence, so far only interrupted by her friend Ho Zai (Jeff Yiu), is opened a little with the arrival of Sakamoto (Joe Odagiri), a mysterious stranger who fasincates The White Girl – and vice versa.

The White Girl has a fantastic soundtrack and some very strong moments, but it didn’t take off quite as much as I would have liked.

Continue reading

Was ist Liebe…? [What Is Love…?] (1924) + Battle-ax

Was ist Liebe…?
Director: Leopold Niernberger
Writer: Carla Karman, Leopold Niernberger
Cast: Dora Kaiser, Alice Hetsey, Carmen Cartellieri, Theo Shall, Rudolf Kaiser
Part of: Viennale
With music by: Battle-ax
Seen on: 24.10.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Doris (Dora Kaiser) and her sister Carmen (Carmen Cartellieri) are very different people. Where Doris is all innocence and kindness, Carmen is much more selfish and calculating. But after their mother’s death, the two of them find work at the Variété together. Doris’ star keeps rising there and Carmen wants to capitalize on it any way she can.

I enjoyed large parts of the film, but in this case, the live music did the movie a disservice. That being said, there was still much to like about it.

Continue reading

Avant la fin de l’été [Before Summer Ends] (2017)

Avant la fin de l’été
Director: Maryam Goormaghtigh
Writer: Maryam Goormaghtigh
Cast: Arash, Ashkan, Hossein
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 24.10.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Arash (Arash) has been studying in France for the last few years, but he didn’t really get into life in France, so he wants to return to Iran. His two best friends, also originally from Iran, Ashkan (Ashkan) and Hossein (Hossein) don’t want to see him go, so they propose to go on a road trip together, hoping that they could change his mind in the course of it.

Avant la fin de l’été was a short film butit felt surprisingly long and was a little too aimless for my taste, making it a little tedious.

Continue reading

120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats Per Minute)] (2017)

120 battements par minute
Director: Robin Campillo
Writer: Robin Campillo, Philippe Mangeot
Cast: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois, Adèle Haenel , Antoine Reinartz, Félix Maritaud, Ariel Borenstein, Aloïse Sauvage
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 23.10.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
It’s the early 1990s and HIV/AIDS has already claimed many lives, but little is done to combat it. Advocacy Group ACT UP is trying to change that, planning several different interventions. Nathan (Arnaud Valois) has just joined the group and is swept up in their relentless energy. Or is he more swept off his feet by Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) who seems to live for the activism?

120 BPM is not perfect, but it is a strong film, a love letter to activism and an emotional journey that will leave you breathless.

Continue reading

Félicité (2017)

Félicité
Director: Alain Gomis
Writer: Alain Gomis, Olivier Loustau, Delphine Zingg
Cast: Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu, Gaetan Claudia, Papi Mpaka, Nadine Ndebo, Elbas Manuana, Diplome Amekindra
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 23.10.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Félicité (Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu) earns her living as a bar singer. It’s there that she meets Tabu (Papi Mpaka), a flirt who drinks too much but also has a sweet side. When Félicité’s 14-year-old son has a motorcycle accident, she desperately needs to find a way to get some money to pay for his hospital bills. The search for money also makes her confront her past.

Félicité has a fascinating relationship with music and I did enjoy revisiting Kinshasa, but after the set-up the story veers off into a direction that left me a little cold.

Continue reading