Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir [Aurores] (Shipwreck with Crazy Hope [Aurora]) – DNF

Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir [Aurores]
Director: Ariane Mnouchkine
Writer: Théâtre du Soleil, Hélène Cixous
Based on: Jules Verne‘s The Survivors of the “Jonathan”
Cast: Théâtre du Soleil (Maixence Bauduin, Duccio Bellugi-Vannuccini, Sébastien Bonneau, Aline Borsari, Sébastien Brottet-Michel, Juliana Carneiro da Cunha, Olivia Corsini, Eve Doe-Bruce, Ana Amelia Dosse, Maurice Durozier, Paula Giusti, Astrid Grant, Sylvain Jailloux, Dominique Jambert, Judit Jancso, Seear Kohi, Marjolaine Larranaga y Ausin, Jean-Jacques Lemêtre, Vincent Mangado, Jean-Sébastien Merle, Alice Milléquant, Ariane Mnouchkine, Serge Nicolaï, Seietsu Onochi, Vijayan Panikkaveettil, Pauline Poignand, Samir Abdul Jabbar Saed, Armand Saribekyan, Andreas Simma, Frédérique Voruz, Shaghayegh Beheshti)
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Plot:
In 1914, a group of silent filmmakers are trying to put together a movie, shooting in the attic of café owner Félix Courage. Constantly struggling to have enough actors and to cobble the scenes together before time or money runs out, things are made even more difficult by the impending outbreak of World War One.

This play could have been fantastic, but it was too long and repetitive and it just got so incredibly boring that I really, really had to leave after two hours (meaning halfway through).

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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Based on: Paul Torday‘s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Mison, Rachael Stirling

Plot:
Harriet (Emily Blunt) works for Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) – a very rich Sheikh from the Yemen who would loves to flyfish and would love to establish salmon fishing in the Yemen. So Harriet gets in touch with fish expert Alfred (Ewan McGregor) to see if it can be done. Initially dismissive, if not to say hostile, Alfred declines a collaboration but is pressured by press secretary Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas) and finally gives in. But as the project slowly actually comes together, both Harriet’s and Alfred’s private lives are falling apart. But maybe a crazy salmon fishing project is just the thing they needed.

The movie has a whole lot of romcom potential and it does fulfill it for the most part. But in other parts, it just doesn’t work at all.

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Lockout (2012)

Lockout
Director: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Writer: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger, Luc Besson
Cast: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Lennie James, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun

Plot:
CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is in deep shit. He’s (wrongly) accused of killing his partner and selling state secrets and quickly sentenced to 30 years in the new prison space station that is just about to be approved from the pilot project phase. But before he can actually be sent there, there is a prison riot – right during a visit of the president’s daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) there. And so, Snow gets a chance to prove himself: if he saves Emilie, he can go free.

Lockout delivers pretty much exactly what you expect it to: crazy villains, explosions, tough guy talk and so much fun. Plus, there are so many gorgeous tattoos walking around in this film, it’s practically tattoo porn. The ending might be a teensiest bit tied up too neatly, but really, who cares about that?

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L’heure d’été [Summer Hours] (2008)

L’heure d’été
Director: Olivier Assayas
Writer: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Charles Berling, Juliette Binoche, Jérémie Renier, Edith Scob

Plot:
Hélène (Edith Scob) is celebrating her birthday with her kids Frédéric (Charles Berling), Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier) and their respective families. Since Hélène knows that she’s getting older, thoughts of succession and heritage are not far from her mind. Especially since she has devoted her entire life to her uncle’s legacy who was a famous artist. Her kids would rather not talk about it though. It is only after Hélène’s death that they really start to come to terms with it.

Summer Hours was beautifully shot, very well acted, had wonderful art in it and I can appreciate it. But it was also way too long and so very boring and I just wanted things to happen every once in a while. I missed a plot.

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The Cold Light of Day (2012)

The Cold Light of Day
Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Writer: Scott Wiper, John Petro
Cast: Henry Cavill, Verónica Echegui, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, Joseph Mawle, Colm Meaney

Plot:
Will (Henry Cavill) arrives in Spain to meet up with his family for a sailing trip, despite his company fighting for survival back home in the US. Understandably, Will is pretty tense, especially because he doesn’t get along that well with his dad Martin (Bruce Willis). But then Will’s family is kidnapped while he’s on a short trip to the shore, Martin turns out to be a CIA agent and Will suddenly finds himself hunted by agents, desperately trying to figure out how he can save them all and himself.

Oh boy. This movie is so incredibly dumb that I didn’t manage for even one second to suspend my disbelief. Seriously, they ruined it with the first scene. Horrible dialogue, wooden acting and bad pacing were just the icing on this cake of stupid.

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Re-Read: Graceling (Kristin Cashore)

Graceling is the first novel by Kristin Cashore, loosely connected to her novel Fire [which I’ve reviewed here and here] and followed by Bitterblue. I reviewed it here for the first time.

Plot:
Katsa is Graced: a special and extreme talent. Unfortunately, her Grace is to kill. She has suffered her whole life for it, constantly pressuring herself to get herself under perfect control, while having to work as a common thug and contract killer for her uncle, King Randa.
But Katsa sees the injustices in the kingdoms around her and decides that she can atone for her Grace by setting some things right. Therefore she forms a council that works for the people.
But when Katsa and the council rescue an old man who has been kidnapped and Katsa meets another Graceling, a fighter, she soon has to see that something is really very wrong in her world.

I wanted to read Graceling a little more slowly the second time round, like I did with Fire. It proved to be impossible. I fell into the book as much as the first time round and gobbled it up in only a couple of days. And again, there was laughing out loud and actual tears.

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Alien (1979)

Alien
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Dan O’Bannon
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
[I am sure that I already saw this film, probably about 10, 15 years ago or so, but I really couldn’t remember a damn thing about it, so I’m not labeling this as a re-watch.]

Plot:
The crew of the Nostromo – a commercial mining ship – are woken from hypersleep in the middle of their journey after the ship received a distress call from a planet they were passing. They land to investigate. While Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) and Kane (John Hurt) head out on the surface, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) discovers that the distress call was actually a warning. But by then Kane already stumbled on a nest of alien eggs…

I loved Alien. It’s a tense, scary, exciting film that has an absolutely outstanding main character in Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley. It’s simply a must-see.

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Re-Read: Fire (Kristin Cashore)

Fire is Kristin Cashore’s second novel. It’s a prequel to Graceling [which I’ve reviewed here] but stands on its own (and even spoils Graceling if you haven’t read it yet, so beware). Here’s my first review of it.

Plot:
In the Dells, there are monsters: Animals that look quite normal, except that they are brightly colored and with the power to control the minds of others. Monsters are carnivores with a special hunger for monster meat. Fire is the last of the human monsters. She’s impossibly beautiful, has bright red hair and is jealously guarded by her childhood friend and lover Archer.
Fire would have probably enough on her plate just by being herself – alternately admired and feared by everyone around her and struggling with the memories of a cruel father who used his monsterness for cruelty – but she gets caught up in the young king’s struggle for the throne and has to worry about assassins with weirdly clouded minds.

With the release of Bitterblue, I decided that a re-read of Fire and Graceling was in order before I delved into the new book. And I was just as caught up in Fire this time around as the first time.

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Happy 2000th! [Reader Participation Welcome!]

My blog has grown quite a bit over these past years and what you’re reading now is my 2000th blog post on this site. Which I think is pretty damn awesome and warrants some kind of celebration!

So, I’ve been mulling this over in my head. How can I best celebrate my compulsion to share my opinions with the world? And then the simplest answer just came to me: by having even more opinions!

Here’s the deal, though: As a thank you to my plentiful and loyal readers (in my head you’re an army, breathlessly waiting for my blog post every day), you can decide what I should have opinions on! And you can decide in what way I should express them!

This is how this is going to work:

Step one

Choose a book, story, comic, movie, an episode (or two) of a TV show, a political topic, a blog entry, several things to compare – you can choose pretty much anything you ever thought “I wonder what kalafudra thinks about that?” of.
[It should be accessible to me though – a column in a local Taiwanese newspaper might be a bit hard.]
You can also specify a particular question – like what I make of the use of the word chagrin in the Twilight novels. [Please don’t choose that.]

Step two

Choose a form in which I should comment: The usual review, a blog-along or maybe even a vlog… it’s up to you!
If you want something else entirely, I’m willing to consider it – though I might have to draw the line at expressive dance. Also, I really suck at drawing things.

Step three

Leave a comment to this post and let me know what you want from me.

What else

You’re welcome to choose crappy things for me to review – much fun can be had with ranting. The only thing I’d ask of you is that you consider that I only have a limited amount of time – so please don’t ask for a blog-along of War and Peace, as it would probably take me a decade to finish.

Depending on the number of comments I’ll get on this [btw, you’re welcome to invite other people to this], I might not be able to do everything. But within a reasonable amount, I’ll try to get to all the suggestions.

Finally, so this doesn’t drag out into all eternity: I’ll take comments left until May 31st into account and then I’ll try to do it all within the next three months, so until August 31st.

So, get cracking! And thanks again for sticking around and reading! :)

Kuma (2012)

Kuma
Director: Umut Dag
Writer: Petra Ladinigg
Cast: Nihal G. Koldas, Begüm Akkaya, Vedat Erincin, Murathan Muslu, Alev Imak, Dilara Karabayir

Plot:
Fatma (Nihal G. Koldas) is very ill. Worried about her family in case she died, she decided that her husband Mustafa (Vedat Erincin) needs a second wife. So she arranged that Ayse (Begüm Akkaya) can officially marry their son Hasan (Murathan Muslu), so she can come to Austria from Turkey. But the rest of the family, especially Fatma’s older daughters Kezban (Alev Irmak) and Nurcan (Dilara Karabayir), are less than excited about the situation. Not to mention Ayse herself.

Kuma is told from a perspective that is usually rather unaccessible for people outside of the Austro-Turkish community and it is a pretty interesting perspective at that. Unfortunately, it tries to take on a little too much.

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