The Slaughter Rule (2002)

The Slaughter Rule is the first feature film by Alex and Andrew J. Smith, starring Ryan Gosling, David Morse, Clea DuVall, David Cale, Eddie Spears and Kelly Lynch (and in a mini-mini-role Amy Adams).

Plot:
After the deat of Roy’s father and Roy’s (Ryan Gosling) getting kicked out of the football team, he is approached by Gid (David Morse) who offers to establish a six-man-football team with Roy as the quarterback. Roy agrees, also because Gid knows Skyla (Clea DuVall), a bartender Roy likes. The relationship between Gid and Roy is in turn very caring and very difficult, especially when rumors about Gid’s sexuality start surfacing.

When I first heard about The Slaughter Rule, I thought it would be your run of the mill sports movie and only Ryan Gosling actually made me want to watch it. But I was pleasantly surprised: it’s a thoughtful, well-acted movie that draws you in.

Continue reading

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The Adjustment Bureau is George Nolfi‘s directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick‘s story, starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Terence Stamp and in a cameo Jennifer Ehle.

Plot:
David Norris (Matt Damon) is a very promising young politician. He meets Elise (Emily Blunt) and they’re immediately attracted to each other. But something seems to be keeping them apart. As David is soon to find out, it’s not just fate: There’s a whole organisation – The Adjustment Bureau – that makes sure that things happen according to plan. And David’s plan has him without Elise. But David can’t accept that.

The Adjustment Bureau is well-paced and well-acted but the religious overtones of the story just got a little too much for me. Still, it’s very enjoyable.

Continue reading

The Good Heart (2009)

The Good Heart is the newest film by Dagur Kári, starring Paul Dano and Brian Cox.

Plot:
Jacques (Brian Cox) is a misanthropic bar owner, Lucas (Paul Dano) a homeless young man who is nice to everyone. They meet in a hospital after Jacques suffers from a heart attack and Lucas recuperates after a suicide attempt. For some reason, Jacques settles on Lucas to be his successor. He takes him in and teaches him the way of the bar: basically, be as unfriendly as possible to everyone.

The Good Heart could have been really good. It’s got great actors and nice cinematography, unfortunately it also has a crappy script, a ridiculous storyline and Dagur Kári really did not convince me as a director.

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

Mein bester Feind [My Best Enemy] (2011)

Mein bester Feind is Wolfgang Murnberger‘s newest film, starring Moritz Bleibtreu, Georg Friedrich and Ursula Strauss.

Plot:
Victor Kaufmann (Moritz Bleibtreu) has it all: he’s working in his parents’ well-regarded art gallery, he has a nice fiancée, Lena (Ursula Strauss) and his best friend with whom he basically grew up, Rudi (Georg Friedrich) has finally returned from a longer stay in Germany. Unfortunately, it’s also 1938 in Vienna and Victor is Jewish. When the nazis take over – and Rudi joins the SS – the Kaufmanns quickly lose everything. Among their possessions is a real Michelangelo which is coveted by the Nazis. But through some twists and turns, the real Michelangelo can be hidden and Victor makes Rudi swap places with him.

Mein bester Feind has a brilliant main cast and is well-paced, but that’s about it. The story itself focusses on the wrong things and is mostly… meh and there are so many wooden performances in the supporting cast, it could keep a middle-sized carpentry well-supplied for a year.

Continue reading

Book Meme – Meme Monday

[taken from here]

1. What new book coming out soon do you plan to buy?

There are so many books that just came out that I have/had to read right away (The Heroes, One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, the paperback of Solar, The Wise Man’s Fear), but as usual there are things still on my list: Embassytown, A Dance With Dragons, Kiss of Snow, …

2. What upcoming book are you dying to read?

Well, that’s basically the same question, isn’t it? I won’t go ahead and buy books that I don’t plan to read.

3. What series is a must read for you?

The aforementioned: The Psy-Changeling Series, The Thursday Next Books, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Kingkiller Chronicles (if, as promised, book 2 gets a grip on its women) [does a trilogy qualify as a series?]. But I’m constantly looking for more, so if you have any recommendations…

4. What new author have you found so far in 2011?

2011 so far has brought me classics and old favorites. The two authors I didn’t know before didn’t really blow me away.

5. What little known author are you a fan of?

Maybe Max Goldt? He should be much bigger than he actually is…

Last Night (2010)

Last Night is the newest film by Massy Tadjedin, starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Guillaume Canet, Eva Mendes and Griffin Dunne.

Plot:
Joanna (Keira Knightley) and Michael (Sam Worthington) are a rather happily married couple. But after a business dinner, they get into a fight about Michael’s attractive co-worker Laura (Eva Mendes). The next day, Michael goes on a business trip with Laura while Joanna runs into her ex-boyfriend Alex (Guillaume Canet). And suddenly both of them spend a night grappling with temptation.

Last Night is a quite little movie. There’s nothing flashy about it, nothing that really stands out – neither in a good, nor in a bad way. It’s just a film you tend not to notice, though it is intelligent, surprisingly well acted and engaging.

Continue reading

Fish Tank (2009)

Fish Tank is Andrea Arnold‘s newest film, starring Katie Jarvis, Rebecca Griffiths, Kierston Wareing, Harry Treadaway and Michael Fassbender.

Plot:
Mia (Katie Jarvis) is a teenager from a bad neighborhood who dreams of a career as a dancer. When her mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing) brings home a new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender), Mia connects with him quickly. Connor is a nice guy who treats Mia and her sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) well and even encourages Mia’s dreams. Flattered by his attention and his general treatment, Mia quickly falls in love with Connor.

Fish Tank is one hell of a movie. Excellently cast, perfectly written and well-shot, it takes no time to make you feel miserable. At least it has the decency to pick you up a little bit at the end.

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading