Kebun binatang [Postcards from the Zoo] (2012)

Kebun binatang
Director: Edwin
Writer: Edwin, Daud Sumolang, Titien Wattimena
Cast: Ladya Cheryl, Nicholas Saputra
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
When Lana (Ladya Cheryl) was a little child, her father left her at the zoo, where she was found by one of the employees and squatters. Now she’s grown into a young woman who practically has never left the zoo. That is, until she sees the Cowboy (Nicholas Saputra), a magician, and is enchanted by him. He brings her out of the zoo and into the world as his assistant and girlfriend. But will Lana be able to cope with the world?

Kebun binatang was a mixed bag of beans. I did like its fairy tale-y, magic realism approach, but when it tries to get a bit more realistic, the movie does fall flat.

[SPOILERS]

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Hubert von Goisern

Hubert von Goisern is an Austrian folk/rock musician. He did not have a supporting band (which, personally, I appreciated quite a lot).

Admittedly, I don’t know his music very closely, but the things I know I do like, so I thought I’d give a live show a try. And I was very glad I did. He is a real entertainer, his concert was really fun and I did like the music – also the things I didn’t know before. A very nice way to spend an evening.

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Lucie Aubrac (1997)

Lucie Aubrac
Director: Claude Berri
Writer: Claude Berri
Based on: Lucie Aubrac‘s book
Cast: Carole Bouquet, Daniel Auteuil, Patrice Chéreau, Eric Boucher, Jean-Roger Milo, Heino Ferch
Part of: Vienna Jewish Film Festival

Plot:
Raymond Aubrac (Daniel Auteuil) is a french resistance fighter in WW2. He’s married to Lucie (Carole Bouquet), who shares his views, even if she isn’t as active in the fight. When Raymond is arrested, Lucie actually succeeds in freeing him by directly threatening an official. Raymond assumes a new identity and continues is work, but then he is again caught, together with a few other resistance fighters. So Lucie tries everything in her power to free him one more time.

I would have liked to enjoy this movie more than I did. But unfortunately, it was pretty boring and it had the worst lead in Carole Bouquet.

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Die Vermessung der Welt [Measuring the World] (Daniel Kehlmann)

Die Vermessung der Welt, translated to Measuring the World, is a novel by Daniel Kehlmann.

Plot:
Measuring the World tells the fictionalized biographies of Carl Friedrich Gauß and Alexander von Humboldt. Gauß is an extremely talented mathematician, but socially not exactly very talented. In fact, he easily alienates people. The same social awkwardness goes for Alexander von Humboldt who stands in his brother’s shadow. While Humboldt is out exploring the world with his trusted companion Aimé Bonpland, Gauß stays at home and starts a family. But despite these differences, their two careers do have similarities and points where they touch.

Measuring the World is a quick, easy and very entertaining read. I do think that its quality has been exaggerated a bit (in German-speaking countries it is handled as quite the literary achievement and gets taught in schools already), but it is nice to read.

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, Jimmi Simpson

Plot:
When Abraham (Benjamin Walker) was a child, he had to watch as the vampire Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) killed his mother. Years later, still filled with thoughts of revenge, he tries to kill Barts and has to be saved by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who then goes on to teach him how to fight vampires – but on the condition that Abe only kills the vampires Henry points out. After training is over, Abe moves to Springfield where he works for Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) as a store clerk, studies law and kills vampires. But his thirst for revenge is still not satisfied.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is absolutely trashtastic. By which I mean, it is not a good movie, in fact quite the opposite, but it is an extremely entertaining one.

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Amour [Love] (2012)

Amour
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
Cast: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud, William Shimell

Plot:
Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) have been married since about forever. Now well into their eighties, they have a comfortable routine with each other. But that routine is interrupted when one morning, Anne seems to fade out for a little while. After a check at the hospital, it turns out that Anne had a stroke which is only the starting point for her slowly falling apart.

Amour is a slow movie that tells its story calmly. Nevertheless it never gets boring. The story is just that absorbing and engaging.

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Ehe im Schatten [Marriage in the Shadows] (1947)

Ehe im Schatten
Director: Kurt Maetzig
Writer: Kurt Maetzig
Based on: Hans Schweikart‘s novella which is based on Joachim Gottschalk‘s life
Cast: Paul Klinger, Ilse Steppat, Alfred Balthoff, Claus Holm, Willy Prager
Part of: Vienna Jewish Film Festival

Plot:
Hans Wieland (Paul Klinger) and Elisabeth Maurer (Ilse Steppat) are celebrated actors. Elisabeth is about to marry Herbert Blohm (Claus Holm) when the Nazis rise to power. When Herbert, who is looking at a promising career under them, finds out that Elisabeth is Jewish and Elisabeth sees that Herbert’s career is more important than him than her, they call things off and Hans Wieland steps in and offers to marry Elisabeth, to keep her relatively safe. But neither realize how bad things are getting at first.

Ehe im Schatten was an excellent film. A tear-jerker, certainly, but one helluva effective one, with a good story, beautiful costumes and a great cast.

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On the Road (2012)

On the Road
Director: Walter Salles
Writer: Jose Rivera
Based on: Jack Kerouac’s novel
Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Elisabeth Moss, Terrence Howard, Alice Braga, Tom Sturridge, Steve Buscemi

Plot:
After his father’s death, Sal (Sam Riley) decides to go on a road trip to visit his new friend Dean (Garrett Hedlund) and his girlfriend Marylou (Kristen Stewart). Together they hook up with some old friends in around the USA. Sal is fascinated with Dean’s energy and joie de vivre. For a while, Sal travels alone, then he travels together with Dean and other people, always looking for the next party and the next kick.

After the book, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about watching the film but I thought that with the lengths the book had, the shortenings necessary for a movie script might improve the whole thing. But if anything the movie was even more boring.

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On the Road (Jack Kerouac)

On the Road is a novel by Jack Kerouac.

Plot:
After his divorce, Sal decides to go on a road trip to visit his new friend Dean and hook up with some old friends in Denver. Sal is fascinated with Dean’s energy and joie de vivre. For a while, Sal travels alone, then he travels together with Dean and other people, always looking for the next party and the next kick.

On the Road starts off well, but then it gets pretty repetitive and boring and reached the point where I just wanted things to be over. The last 60 pages were more torture than actual reading and if it hadn’t been so short before the end, I’d probably not have finished it at all.

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Ha-Mashgihim [God’s Neighbors] (2012)

Ha-Mashgihim
Director: Meny Yaesh
Writer: Meny Yaesh
Cast: Roy Assaf, Rotem Zussman, Gal Friedman, Itzik Golan, Gili Shushan
Part of: Vienna Jewish Film Festival

Plot:
Avi (Roy Assaf) lives in the Israeli city of Bat Yam. He spends his time working at his father’s shop, making music and hanging out with his friends (Gal Friedman, Itzik Golan). But every once in a while something happens in his neighborhood that Avi, as an Orthodox Jew, can not allow. And then he and his friends don’t have a problem with taking a baseball bat to achieve their ends. One day, the meet Miri (Rotem Zussman) and promptly reprimand her for not being clothed decently enough. But Avi can’t forget Miri and keeps on searching her out.

God’s Neighbors starts of strong and atmospheric, but the ending did sour it for me a bit. The cast was really great, though and it was an interesting look into a world I know practically nothing about.

[SPOILERS]

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