The Possession (2012)

The Possession
Director: Ole Bornedal
Writer: Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Based on: Leslie Gornstein‘s article “Jinx in a Box”
Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Natasha Calis, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport, Matisyahu

Plot:
Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) recently separated and are now trying to work things out for the sake of their two daughters Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport). To decorate their rooms at his new house, Clyde takes the two girls to a yard sale where Em finds a box with apparently Hebrew writing on it. And that box starts to have quite an effect on Em, with ever more mysterious and scary things happening around it and her.

I didn’t expect much from this movie and I was quite surprised by how good it was. Is it great? No. But it is tense, very well done and really entertaining.

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Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan
Based on: Ian Fleming‘s James Bond novels
Sequel to: Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Helen McCrory

Plot:
James Bond’s (Daniel Craig) mission is to protect a computer drive that contains the identities of several agents. But things go very wrong, Bond loses the drive and is shot by fellow agent Eve (Naomie Harris) – at the orders of M (Judi Dench). Believed dead, Bond disappears. But M has to face a lot of criticism for her actions and losing the list. When the MI6 HQ is bombed, Bond returns from his supposed death and he and M both have to face their pasts to clear this matter up.

I had heard only good things about Skyfall before seeing it and that might have made me expect a little too much. It was still a very good film, it just wasn’t as great as I had expected.

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Argo (2012)

Argo
Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Chris Terrio
Based on: Joshuah Bearman‘s article [pdf link]
Cast: Ben Affleck, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber

Plot:
In 1979, Iranian revolutionaries stormed the USAmerican embassy in Teheran. In the middle of this confusion, 6 employees managed to flee to the Canadian embassy and hide there. The CIA hires exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to get them out of there. So Tony concocts a story about the shoot of a SciFi movie to provide a cover for the six of them, which includes the basic pre-production of the film.

Argo is a classic, straightforward and very well-made thriller that hits all the right notes in the right way, even if it doesn’t surprise. But it makes the perfect case for a tried and tested format executed well.

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Re-Watch: Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace
Director: Marc Forster
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
Based on: Ian Fleming‘s James Bond novels
Sequel to: Casino Royale
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Gemma Arterton, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Jesper Christensen, David Harbour, Rory Kinnear, [and for about 5 seconds Stana Katic]
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Set directly after the events in Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is out for revenge and to understand exactly what happened with Vesper. To that end he kidnaps Mr White (Jesper Christensen) and he and M (Judi Dench) interrogate him. But before White can reveal much more than that he is working for a mysterious organisation, things go south. In the end Bond is left only with one lead that brings him to seemingly squeaky-clean environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). But things are far from being clean.

Watching Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace back to back just makes one thing even clearer: Quantum of Solace really and definitely and fully sucks.

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
Based on: Ian Fleming‘s James Bond novels
Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Isaach de Bankolé, Jesper Christensen

Plot:
James Bond (Daniel Craig) is a special agent who just recently graduated to 00-status. And in his first mission, he has to take on Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), banker to the upper leagues of terrorism. Le Chiffre is about to play a high-stakes game of poker; and if Bond can beat him and take his money, they will have him cornered. So Bond’s boss M (Judi Dench) sends him and accountant Vesper (Eva Green) to Montenegro to win at poker.

Casino Royale is an extremely satisfying action movie that also holds up to second viewing. Daniel Craig is a cool bond and the whole thing is very entertaining.

[SPOILERS]

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Writer: Stephen Chbosky
Based on: his novel
Cast: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Nina Dobrev, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Johnny Simmons, Nicholas Braun, Mae Whitman, Julia Garner, Paul Rudd, Melanie Lynskey, Joan Cusack

Plot:
Charlie (Logan Lerman) writes anonymous letters to somebody he doesn’t actually know. He writes about returning to high school after his best friend killed himself the year before. He writes about the books he reads and the special support he gets from his English teacher (Paul Rudd). He writes about his Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey) who died. He writes about his sister (Nina Dobrev) and her boyfriend (Nicholas Braun). And when he meets Sam (Emma Watson) and her step-brother Patrick (Ezra Miller) he writes about them, their relationships and how through their friendship he slowly starts living his own life.

After I fell in love with the book so surprisingly but oh so deeply, I have to admit that the movie is not quite as good as that. But it is an excellent piece of work that I did enjoy a whole lot.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an epistolary, young adult novel by Stephen Chbosky.

Plot:
Charlie writes anonymous letters to somebody he doesn’t actually know. He writes about returning to high school after his best friend killed himself the year before. He writes about the books he reads and the special support he gets from his English teacher. He writes about his Aunt Helen who died. He writes about his sister and her boyfriend. And when he meets Sam and her step-brother Patrick he writes about them, their relationships and how through their friendship he slowly starts living his own life.

Honestly, I didn’t expect much from this book. I only started reading it because of the movie adaptation – I usually make an effort to read the book beforehand, if it interests me even a little bit. So I was pretty surprised when I got so caught up in this book that I finished it in a few hours. It was beautiful.

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Jagten [The Hunt] (2012)

Jagten
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Writer: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrøm, Susse Wold, Anne Louise Hassing, Lars Ranthe, Alexandra Rapaport
Part of: Viennale

[TRIGGER WARNING]

Plot:
Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) was recently divorced and lost his job. He is just getting his life back together, working in a kindergarden and trying to find a way to communicate with his ex for the sake of their son Marcus (Lasse Fogelstrøm). He has the support of his best friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen) and also finds some solace in the special friendship he shares with Theo’s daughter Klara (Annika Wedderkopp). But then another kindergarden teacher believes that Klara is accusing Lucas of abuse and that brings everything crashing down.

Jagten was a bit of a tour de force. It was amazingly fantastic but I can’t remember the last time I was so fucking tense during a movie. I can only bow down to Thomas Vinterberg and Mads Mikkelsen and then go cry in a corner.

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Donoma (2010)

Donoma
Director: Djinn Carrénard
Writer: Djinn Carrénard
Cast: Emilia Dérou-Bernal, Sékouba Doucouré, Salomé Blechmans, Matthieu Longuatte, Laetitia Lopez, Vincente Perez, Laura Kpegli
Part of: Viennale

[TRIGGER WARNING]

Plot:
Spanish teacher Analia (Emilie Dérou-Bernal) has trouble with one of her young male students, Dacio (Vincente Perez) and she goes on to try and solve her problems in a very unconventional way. In the meantime Dacio’s girlfriend Salma (Salomé Blechmans) starts to question her agnosticism, while the young photographer Chris (Laura Kpegli) wants to test the randomness of love by choosing the stranger Dama (Sékouba Doucouré) to live with her – without ever having talked to him before.

Donoma is a no-budget production and as much as I want to give credit to Carrénard to pull off a feature film on 200 bucks, the result doesn’t really speak for the process.

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Jack and Diane (2012)

Jack and Diane
Director: Bradley Rust Gray
Writer: Bradley Rust Gray
Cast: Juno Temple, Riley Keough, Dane DeHaan, Kylie Minogue
Part of: Viennale

[Slight Trigger Warning]

Plot:
The bubbly Diane (Juno Temple) runs into the butch Jack (Riley Keough) and the two of them connect instantly. After a night of hanging out together and kissing (that is only interrrupted by Diane’s nose bleeding), they start to see more of each other but things are not that easy. Not only is Diane about to leave the country, there is some kind of monster that keeps appearing whenever Diane and Jack are close.

Jack and Diane is a movie that, unfortunately, went nowhere. Instead it got lost in its own metaphor. The cast is good and there could have been much made from it, but it doesn’t seem like Bradley Rust Gray knew what he actually wanted it to be.

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