Grand Central (2013)

Grand Central
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Writer: Gaëlle Macé, Rebecca Zlotowski
Cast: Tahar Rahim, Léa Seydoux, Olivier Gourmet, Denis Ménochet, Johan Libéreau
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Gary (Tahar Rahim) has been looking for work and barely has any money at all. So when he ends up working in a nuclear power plant, he feels like he gets a new chance. Especially since he likes his colleagues Gilles (Olivier Gourmet) and Toni (Denis Ménochet) with whom he also practically lives together. But it really is Toni’s girlfriend Karole (Léa Seydoux) who keeps him there.

Grand Central has an interesting setting and a great cast. The plot itself is nothing to write home about, but that’s kind of the point. It does get a little long, but generally it was really good.

grandcentral

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Der Geschmack von Apfelkernen [The Taste of Apple Seeds] (Katharina Hagena)

Der Geschmack von Apfelkernen is a novel by Katharina Hagena [German].

Plot:
Iris’ grandmother just died and left her the house. Now Iris finds herself in a small village in the middle of nowhere, trying to decide whether she wants that house and all the history that comes with it or whether she wouldn’t rather continue her family’s tradition of forgetting and not talking about things. That her childhood friend Max is there, too, really only confuses things further.

There were a couple of things I didn’t like about this book but altogether it wasn’t bad and I did enjoy reading it.

geschmackapfel

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Wicked

Wicked
Director: Joe Mantello
Writer: Stephen Schwartz. Winnie Holzman
Based on: Gregory Maguire‘s novel, which is in turn based on L. Frank Baum‘s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz respectively the movie The Wizard of Oz
Cast: Louise Dearman, Gina Beck, Ben Freeman, Harriet Thorpe, Keith Bartlett, Katie Rowley Jones, Sam Lupton, Christopher Howell
[I saw the production in London.]

Plot:
Wicked tells the story of how the Wicked Witch of the West became the Wicked Witch of the West. And it all started in school where Elphaba (Louise Dearman), whose green skin makes her a target for everyone, arrives as her sister’s Nessarose (Katie Rowley Jones) helper, to be discovered as a magical supertalent. Much to the chagrin of popular Glinda (Gina Beck) who dreamed of becoming a witch herself. But more is going on in Oz than it appears at first – and both Elphaba and Glinda are more involved than they initially thought.

I didn’t really know Wicked going into the show. A while ago I watched some of the clips of the Broadway version (mostly because of Kristin Chenoweth), so I knew some of the songs and I was familiar with the story. But seeing it put together like it should be is, of course, a rather different experience and one that really works beautifully. I spend most of the time crying and I loved it.

Wicked

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Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Mark Rylance
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones, Lloyd Everitt, Beth Cooke, James Garnon, Danny Lee Wynter, Michael Elwyn

Plot:
Benedick (James Earl Jones) and Claudio (Lloyd Everitt) with their superior Don Pedro (James Garnon) just returned from the war. They come to Leonato’s (Michael Elwyn) where they wish to stay for a while. Claudio immediately falls in love again with Leonato’s daughter Hero (Beth Cooke) while Benedick and Leonato’s niece Beatrice (Vanessa Redgrave) fight as much as they’re able to. Pedro wants to see everybody end up together, while Pedro’s half-brother John (Danny Lee Winter) does his best to sabotage everything.

It had been a while that I saw any version of this play, but I remembered that it was funny. And with Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in the cast, I thought that I was all set for an entertaining evening. But I was wrong. Incredibly wrong. Oh boy, I don’t think I was ever that wrong before.

muchado

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London, ComicCon and London’s ComicCon

In October, teashoe, C., J. and me headed to London. Our reason to go was actually the ComicCon there, but since neither of us (except teashoe) had actually seen much of London, if anything at all, we also added a little bit of sightseeing to the mix. And it was absolutely brilliant.

2013-10-29 18.09.56[teashoe took this brilliant image. Just like a postcard.]

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Runner Runner (2013)

Runner Runner
Director: Brad Furman
Writer: Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, John Heard, Sam Palladio, David Costabile

Plot:
Richie (Justin Timberlake) used to be somebody on Wall Street but then his world came crashing down. Now he’s back at uni, struggling to finance his studies and supplementing his income with referring people to online poker games. When he himself loses in one of them, he is certain that he was scammed. So he decides to find Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), the owner of the gambling site, and let him know how people use his site to their advantage. Ivan is impressed and offers Richie a job. But things are not all what they cracked up to be.

Runner Runner was so boring that I actually fell asleep for the last five minutes or so, during the very showdown. I just didn’t care for anything that happened in this film.

runnerrunner

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First Position (2011)

First Position
Director: Bess Kargman
“Cast”: Aran Bell, Rebecca Houseknecht, Joan Sebastian Zamora, Miko Fogarty, Jules Jarvis Fogarty, Michaela Deprince, Gaya Bommer Yemini

Plot:
First Position is a documentary that follows a few young dancers as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix – the world’s largest international ballet competition that promises scholarships and work contracts. Already just getting there takes a lot of work, commitment, training time and money.

First Position is an excellent documentary that manages to show both the passion, hard work and love that goes into dancing and, seemingly in passing, the economic, physical and emotional downsides as well. It’s interesting, entertaining and there’s dancing – which makes it pretty much perfect.

firstposition

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The Look of Love (2013)

The Look of Love
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Writer: Matt Greenhalgh
Cast: Steve Coogan, Imogen Poots, Anna Friel, Tamsin Egerton, Chris Addison, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas, Shirley Henderson, Simon Bird, David Walliams, Dara O’Briain

Plot:
Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan) makes his money with nightclubs, stripping, erotic dancing – basically women taking their clothes off. And he makes a lot of it, despite the controversy around his job. His wife Jean (Anna Friel) is fully supportive – until Paul leaves her to be with Amber (Tamsin Egerton) and fully enjoy the party lifestyle. While Jean goes to the US with their son, Paul’s daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) wants to follow in Paul’s footsteps as he continues to build his naked women emporium.

The Look of Love has a good cast but it has serious issues with focussing on the story they want to tell. It’s still rather entertaining, but it really didn’t blow me away.

the-look-of-love

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The Congress (2013)

The Congress
Director: Ari Folman
Writer: Ari Folman
Based on: Stanislaw Lem‘s novel The Futurological Congress
Cast: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston, Sami Gayle, Michael Stahl-David, Michael Landes, Sarah Shahi

Plot:
Robin Wright (Robin Wright) is an actress past her prime who lives with her two children Aaron (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Sarah (Sami Gayle) near an airport. Her agent Al (Harvey Keitel) does his best for her, but he has seen better times, too. So when Robin gets the chance to get on the next technological step and scan herself entirely so that a CGI version of herself will do all her acting for her, she takes it despite her trepidations. But technology doesn’t end there.

This movie is a mess. And not a beautiful one either, but one that, after a great start, leaves you confused and bored.

the-congress

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Gravity (2013)

Gravity
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writer: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris

Plot:
Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is an engineer on her first space mission. She’s accompanied by seasoned astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). As they’re working on the repairs they were sent up for, space debris hits them badly and Ryan drifts off. And that’s only just the start of their fight to survive and return home.

Before going into the film I heard a whole lot of good things about it and my expectations were accordingly extremely high. And I am happy to report that, contrary to most other films where you go in with high expextations, I left Gravity completely satisfied.

gravity

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