Sue lives with her adoptive family who ply their trade as thieves and with various cons. When a regular collaborator with them, Richard Rivers, calles the Gentleman suggest a new con, Sue suddenly finds herself training to become a maid to the rich Maud Lilly. Maud lives in a remote estate, Briar, with her uncle Christopher Lilly, an avid book collector. Gentleman was a guest of theirs and saw the perfect opportunity: he would marry Maud and then get rid of her, but keep her money. All he needs is a confidante who makes sure that Maud makes the right decisions. And so Sue travels to Briar to make sure their plan goes off without a hitch.
Fingersmith was an absolutely fantastic read. Vivid characters, perfect setting, one of the best plot twists in the history of plot twists and a whole lot of feminism. What more could you possibly ask for?
Maddy (Emily Norris) loves nothing more than doing gymnastics and she is pretty good at it, though she lacks confidence. When their old trainer Beverly (Carmel Johnson) becomes ill, Kate (Nina Pearce) takes over the team to train. But at their first competition together, things don’t go well for them. Head of the jury is Sally (Amy Handley) who shares a long history with Kate – and it’s not a positive one. And Sally uses that against Maddy and her team. Both Kate and Maddy are ready to give up, but Beverly suggests that they should get the help of Shane (Adam Tuominen), the boys’ coach, and give it another go.
Good grief, people. It is actually embarrassing that this is a professionally made film, proving that people more often than not just don’t give a shit about quality if it’s a film made for kids. And – since I watched it only because it was my niece’s favorite film at the time – that kids often don’t care, either.
Biracial Samantha (Tessa Thompson) hosts a popular radio show on her campus where she tackles racial issues, “Dear White People”. After she wins the election for head of her House, the black only residence on campus, beating out her ex Try (Brandon P Bell), Sam gets a bigger platform for her outspoken activism and things get considerably more heated. The white students, in particular the frat led by Kurt (Kyle Gallner), want to push back by hosting a blackface party and asking Lionel (Tylor James Williams) to investigate undercover in Sam’s House. Meanwhile, Coco (Teyonah Parris) is trying to land a spot on a reality TV show, but they seem more interested in Sam and the tensions surrounding her.
Dear White People started off a bit weird for me, but once the film and I found our groove together and the story really starts, it is an enjoyable, funny film with a very serious core, presenting a perspective that is much too rare in mainstream entertainment.
It’s hard to imagine a tougher man than Ji-wook Yoon (Seung-won Cha): a police officer whose preferred work method is to simply beat everybody up, preferably heroically on his own. But Yoon is not only at war with the criminals around him – a gang in particular has sworn revenge after he all but decimated them – he is also at war with himself. Because what he would really like to do is to live as a woman. He even tries to quit his job to start tranisitioning, but his plans don’t work out the way he wants it.
It’s weird writing this plot description/the review calling Yoon “he” throughout, but it’s also rather emblematic of the film that doesn’t really get into the gender politics of the premise but uses it as a gimmick. Thus, calling Yoon “she” would feel completely off, legitimating a very problematic approach. For the rest of this review I shall resort to “they”, even if that doesn’t sit right with me either.
Nevertheless, Hai-hil doesn’t only have strong (and pretty gory) fight scenes, but it’s engaging exactly because of the ambivalence it shows towards (trans*)gender issues. Though that engagement doesn’t come without pain about the often bad representation (at least judging from my pov as a European, cis woman and – hopefully – ally to trans* people).
José (José Dolores López) lives with his family in a dilapitated house in Caracas, called La Soledad. They inherited that house – unofficially – from the family his grandmother Rosina (María Agamez Palomino) worked as a maid for. José barely gets by, but he does his best, trying to take care of his daughter, his grandmother and the rest of the family. But the family is threatened with eviction from the remaining family. All that can maybe safe them is the rumored treasure in the house itself.
La Soledad straddles the line between documentary and feature film. The house was actually the house of director Amand’s family, José really his childhood friend and Armand seems to capture the images of a Venezuela in crisis very naturalistically (as far as I can tell, having never been there). And yet I didn’t get all that warm with the film.
When Vee (Emma Roberts) is accused by her best friend Sydney (Emily Meade) that she always plays it safe, Vee impulsively decides to get active in Nerve, an online game of Dare that is making the rounds among the teenagers of the city. Her first dares are innocent enough and bring her in touch with another participant, Ian (Dave Franco). They decide to team up. But the longer they play, the higher the stakes. And soon Vee finds that she can’t get out of the game anymore and she doesn’t even know if she can actually trust Ian.
I didn’t expect much from Nerve, but it turns out it’s an absolutely entertaining film. It’s not a masterpiece in any sense of the word, but it’s enjoyable popcorn cinema.
6 strangers in a city, leading very different lives, but all heading towards the same point that night – one where violence erupts. But traces of that violence are everywhere, fragments of the very real shooting at The Dark Knight Rises premiere in Colorado.
Dark Night is not a documentary of the Aurora shooting, nor is it a dramatization of the events. While it does use details from and media coverage of the shooting, it doesn’t so much attempt to reconstruct what happened but to show a caleidoscope of details, rearranging everything until there’s very little left that even has the possibility to make sense at all.
It’s an ambitious project and an interesting cinematic attempt, but ultimately, it’s a film that I wanted to like much more than I actually did.
The Cockatrice Boys is a young adult/children’s novel by Joan Aiken.
Finished on: 10.9.2016
The United Kingdom is facing a plague of monsters, called cockatrices, of all shapes and sizes that pretty much overran the entire country. But there are the Cockatrice Corps, an army special unit dedicated to fight the monsters. As they ride the train across the country fighting monsters along the way, they are joined by Dakin as a drummer boy and a little later by his cousin Sauna who seems to have a way of knowing things she couldn’t know and who has spent the last few years tied up at her aunts place so she doesn’t break anything. And maybe those two are just what the Corps needed to finally get ahead in the fight.
The Cockatrice Boys didn’t really convince me, unfortunately. I thought it was often confusing and rarely all that funny. It just left me scratching my head.
Kyōsuke Shikijō (Ryôhei Suzuki) is a high school student with a strong sense of justice, but unfortunately nothing to back that up with. So when he stands up against bullies, he regularly gets beat up. When Aiko Himeno (Fumika Shimizu) comes to his school, he immediately falls in love. Then Aiko is taken hostage during a bank robbery and Kyōsuke wants to save her. To not be recognized, he wants to pull on a mask, but pulls on a panty by mistake. But through that mistake his superpowers are released and Kyōsuke becomes Hentai Kamen – Pervert Mask.
When I first saw Hentai Kamen, I already loved it and I’m happy to say that it definitely holds up to re-watching it. It again had me laughing more often than not.
Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) have been best friends since about forever, spending most of their time battling the idea that growing older also means growing up. Instead they party in the world of high fashion all of the time. But they’re also struggling with keeping up their standard of living, Edina dreaming of finding a big client she can represent, and Patsy of finding a rich husband. When they hear that Kate Moss (as herself) is looking for new representation, they do everything to get close to her. But it ends in catastrophe: Kate is knocked into the Thames and disappears, and Edina and Patsy have to flee the country.
I’ve never seen the TV show this is based on/a sequel to, but I decided to see the film anyway because it’s rare enough to get such a female-centric film (both in front of and behind the camera). But honestly, I’m a little unsure what to do with this film – and I probably wouldn’t have if I had been familiar with the show before.