Camp Death III in 2D! (2018)

Camp Death III in 2D!
Director: Matt Frame
Writer: Matt Frame
Cast: Dave Peniuk, Angela Galanopoulos, Darren Andrichuk, Emma Docker, Chris Allen,
Starlise Waschuk, Terry mullett, Cynthia Chalmers, Gerald Gerald Geraldson, Hans Potter, Katherine Alpen, Jason Asuncion, Andrea Bang
Seen on: 6.1.2019
[Screener review.]

Plot:
Camp Crystal Meph was the scene of a horrific bloodbath by the killer Johann Van Damme (Terry mullett). But a few years later, Todd (Dave Peniuk) is ready to give it another try. His uncle Mel (Darren Andrichuk) owns the camp ground and Todd has set up a new camp concept. Together with his camp counselors Rachel (Angela Galanopoulos) and Barry (Chris Allen), they are ready to welcome their group. But soon after their arrival, people start dying – again -, murderous squirrels run wild and nobody has any clue what is actually happening

Camp Death III in 2D! is a parody of Friday the 13th Part III in 3D that has some nicely silly ideas, but unfortunately overdoes it a lot of the times. Plus, it is just so ableist that I really wanted to scream.

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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.

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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.

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Zerschlag mein Herz [Crush My Heart] (2018)

Zerschlag mein Herz
Director: Alexandra Makarová
Writer: Alexandra Makarová, Sebastian Schmidl
Cast: Roman Pokuta, Simona Kovácová, Frantisek Balog, Simonida Selimovic, Maximillian Six, Sasa Makarová, Wolfgang S. Zechmayer
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 15.3.2018
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Plot:
Pepe (Roman Pokuta) has been in Vienna for a while and he knows the lay of the land. He works for his uncle Rocky (Frantisek Balog), begging in the streets. When Marcela (Simona Kovácová) arrives from Slovakia to join them, Rocky asks Pepe to show Marcela the ropes. And while Marcela seems pretty hopeless at begging, Pepe and Marcela do get closer. But is their hard life made for love?

Zerschlag mein Herz really is aptly name because my heart was sufficiently crushed by the end of it. It’s a great film that looks at some hard truths about life in Vienna and an absolutely fantastic film, especially for a first feature.

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Phaidros (2018)

Phaidros
Director: Mara Mattuschka
Writer: Mara Mattuschka
Cast: Julian Sharp, Alexander E. Fennon, Nicola Filippelli, May Teodosio, Tamara Mascara
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 15.3.2018
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Content note: transmisogyny

Plot:
Emil (Julian Sharp) is an actor, currently working on the role of Phaidros opposite Werner Maria (Alexander E. Fennon) as Sokrates. But their stage relationship isn’t exactly cooperative and Emil is struggling with his own performance, looking for a big break. His private life is also not exactly satisfactory, although easy: he lives with the costume designer Maurizio (Nicola Filippelli) who takes care of his every need and is very much in love with him. But Emil is looking for something else.

Phaidros is a strange film – as a Mattuschka film is wont to be. It works in many ways, but in others not at all. Especially the transmisogyny in it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

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Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch? [Are You Sleeping, Brother Jakob?] (2018)

Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch?
Director: Stefan Bohun
Writer: David Bohun, Johannes Bohun, Stefan Bohun
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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Content Note: Suicide

“Plot”:
Matthias, Johannes, Stefan and David are brothers. There used to be a fifth one, Jakob, but he killed himself. Now the four remaining brothers are on a hiking trip together in the mountains where Jakob always felt at home. They use it as both a chance to talk about Jakob and to get closer to each other again.

Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch is a touching documentary and a gift from the filmmakers to share their very private process of grieving with the world. It’s beautiful.

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Anomalie [Anomaly] (2018)

Anomalie
Director: Richard Wilhelmer
Writer: Daniel Haingartner, Richard Wilhelmer
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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“Plot”:
Anomalie looks at the lines we draw between sane and insane and how blurry it actually is. Following Fritz Joachim Rudert, a homeless man with experiences as a patient in psychiatric wards, to his participation in the German anti-psychiatry movement, the film asks how we as a society decide about the standards and norms that we accept as true – and whether our reaction to deviations from those norms is as it should be.

Anomalie picked a very interesting topic for a documentary and tries to come at it from many angles – too many at times, maybe. Even if I would draw some conclusions differently than the film appears to, I was fascinated from beginning to end.

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★ (2017)

[aka Stern, translated as Star]
Director: Johann Lurf
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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“Plot”:
Movies have always looked to and at the stars, the sky, at the universe itself. Lurf collected all these images from the beginning of film to movies right now into one 102 minute supercut, exploring how we look at and relate to the stars.

I liked the idea of ★, but the resulting film fell a little flat for me. I felt that the stars were disenchanted by the sheer mass of images and I would have wished that the film contributed to the magic they exude instead.

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Short Films at the Diagonale 2018

I saw four short films at the Diagonale.
Sekundenschlaf [Microsleep] (2017)
Director: Lena Lemerhofer
Writer: Lena Lemerhofer
Cast: Paula Parker, Merten Schroedter, Judith Sehrbrock, Ayla Siegmund, Heike Warmuth
Generalprobe [Dress Rehearsal] (2017)
Director: Jannis Lenz
Writer: Jannis Lenz
Cast: Anna Suk, Ahmet Simsek
Bester Mann [Main Man] (2018)
Director: Florian Forsch
Writer: Florian Forsch
Cast: Adrian Grünewald, Frederik Schmid, Yuri Völsch, Thomas Bartholomäus, Jarl Lando Beger
Arena (2018)
Director: Björn Kämmerer
Seen on: 14.3.2018

Three of the four films I saw were part of a short film program, the fourth was a short opening film to another movie. All four films were strong, but some were stronger than others.

After the jump, read about each of the films seperately.

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Onkel Wanja [Uncle Vanya] (2017)

Onkel Wanja
Director: Anna Martinetz
Writer: Anna Martinetz
Based on: Anton Chekhov‘s play
Cast: Martin Butzke, Korinna Krauss, Wolfgang Hübsch, Julia Dietze, Manuel Rubey, Michael Kranz, Marion Krawitz, Katalin Zsigmondy, Doris Buchrucker, Karl Knaup
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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Plot:
Alexander (Wolfgang Hübsch) has withdrawn to his uncle Wanja’s (Martin Butzke) country estate to escape the financial crisis that is shaking the city and has caused a revolution. In the country, things still are mostly the same and Wanja and Sonja (Korinna Krauss) want to keep it that way. But Alexander and his wife Elena (Julia Dietze) have business ideas – lots of them.

Onkel Wanja is an ambitious project that tries a lot but it’s unfortunately also one that fails a lot. For me it was mostly marked by feeling long and exhausting, although there were a few bits that were pretty strong.

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