L’inconnu du lac [Stranger by the Lake] (2013)

L’inconnu du lac
Director: Alain Guiraudie
Writer: Alain Guiraudie
Cast: Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou, Patrick d’Assumçao, Jérôme Chappatte

Plot:
Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) regularly goes to a local lake that doubles as a cruising zone. He has his eyes set on Michel (Christophe Paou) but he appears to have a boyfriend. So Franck starts talking to Henri (Patrick d’Assumçao) who just likes to sit at the lake. Then Franck happens to see how dangerous Michel actually is – but also sees his chance to realize his passion for him.

L’inconnu du lac is beautifully shot and shows the cruising scene without any moral outrage. But other than that it is frustrating and boring.

linconnu_du_lac

[SPOILERS]

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Frankenstein

Frankenstein
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Nick Dear
Based on: Mary Shelley‘s novel
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller, Ella SmithKarl Johnson, Naomie Harris
[I saw the version with Benedict Cumberbatch as Victor Frankenstein and Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature. But there’s also a vice versa version.]

Plot:
Victor Frankenstein (Benedict Cumberbatch) experimented around and managed to create a man (Jonny Lee Miller). Horrified by what he’s done, he leaves the Creature to his own devices. As he stumbles through the world, utterly forsaken, the Creature tries to find his place in the world, a place that is inexorably connected to the man who created him.

Frankenstein was an excellent production that looked great, was entertaining and very well-made. It has one big fault though, in the shape of a completely unnecessary rape scene.

Frankenstein

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Filth (2013)

Filth
Director: Jon S. Baird
Writer: Jon S. Baird
Based on: Irvine Welsh‘s novel
Cast: James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan, Joanne Froggatt, Shirley Henderson, Iain De Caestecker, Gary Lewis

Plot:
Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is every bad stereotype of a police man: he’s a misanthropic, sexist, racist, power-obsessed asshole who is supposed to investigate the death of a Japanese tourist. Instead he’d rather think about how to get the promotion to Detective Inspector, even though he doesn’t actually like doing his job. But Bruce is not only an asshole, all is not right with him in general. As his convoluted intrigues become ever more complicated, his mental state continues to deteriorate.

Filth isn’t always easily stomached and the ending didn’t blow me away, but other than that I really liked it. It was well-made, well-acted and kept you on the edge of your seat.

Filth

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Frozen (2013)

Frozen
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writer: Jennifer Lee
Based on (or rather inspired by): Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy tale The Snow Queen
Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds

Plot:
Anna (Kristen Bell) and her sister Ella (Idina Menzel) were really close until Ella accidentally hurt Anna with her magic power that controls snow and ice. As a precaution their parents, the king and queen, effectively isolate Ella completely, much to Anna’s chagrin who doesn’t remember anything about the power. After their parents die, Ella is supposed to take over but things go out of hand and Anna finds herself on a mission to save not only Ella, but their entire kingdom with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff).

Frozen is beautifully animated, funny and very sweet. The plot is nice as well and surprisingly feminist. And to round things off, the music was really nice.

Frozen

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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Ethan Phillips, Robin Bartlett, Adam Driver, Stark Sands, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham

Plot:
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a struggling folk singer whose life is less than glamorous. He has no money – instead he has a floundering solo album. He doesn’t have an apartment – instead he crashes on friends’ couches until they kick him out. He doesn’t have a girlfriend – instead he sleeps with Jean (Carey Mulligan) who is actually with Jim (Justin Timberlake). And Jean is pregnant and needs an abortion because she really doesn’t want Llewyn’s child. So Llewyn has to figure out a way to make it happen.

Inside Llewyn Davis breaks my Coen Brothers rule: I usually only ever like every other film they make and it wouldn’t have been their turn to be liked, but it worked out that way anyway. I was enchanted by Llewyn and the hypnotically slow pace of the film.

insidellewyndavis

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Sequel to: The Hunger Games
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour Hoffman, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson

Plot (with SPOILERS for the first one):
With the way the Hunger Games ended Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has definitely upset the system. So before she, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and their entourage travel from district to district on their victory tour, Katniss gets a visit from President Snow (Donald Sutherland). He lets her know without a doubt that rebellion of any kind on her part will not be tolerated – and that she has to make this clear to the districts as well, where unrest is brewing. Since it’s not only Katniss’ life that he threatens, but also that of her family and friends, Katniss complies as well as she can. And then the rug is completely pulled from under her when she and Peeta are drawn back into the 75 year special edition of the Games.

Where the second book was slightly worse than the first book, I thought that the second film was even better than the first. It’s a fantastic sequel, great adaptation and a wonderful film.

catchingfire

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Re-Watch: The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
The USA don’t exist anymore. In its place are 12 districts and the Capitol that has the districts under its thumb. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in district 12, where at 16 she’s basically taking care of her mother (Paula Malcomson) and sister Prim (Willow Shields). Which means that she breaks the laws daily to go hunting with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But Katniss’ life changes radically when the kids for the Hunger Games of that year are reaped. In the Hunger Games every year 24 kids, 2 more or less randomly chosen from each districts, are pitted against each other in a battle to the death until only one remains standing. And in this year 12-year-old Prim is chosen. In desperation Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place. And so Katniss travels to the Capitol together with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) the baker’s son – to certain death for at least one of them.

Despite actually getting the story for the third time, I was completely into it again and it made me cry. Again.

The-Hunger-Games

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Escape Plan (2013)

Escape Plan
Director: Mikael Håfström
Writer: Miles Chapman, Jason Keller
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Faran Tahir, Amy Ryan , Sam Neill, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, 50 Cent

Plot:
Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) works as a security consultant, basically: it’s his job to test prison security system by getting incarcerated and then breaking out. But his newest assignment doesn’t go as planned. He gets taken differently than agreed on, he finds himself facing the sadistic warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) instead of the person who knew about his real identity and the prison seems impossible to break out of. But at least he finds support for his breakout plans in fellow prisoner Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Escape Plan has all the markings of a craptastic film. And parts of it are as shitmazing as I expected them to be. But unfortunately I found myself pretty bored during most of the film despite that.

escape_plan

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Blue Jasmine (2013)

Blue Jasmine
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alden Ehrenreich, Louis C.K., Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay

Plot:
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) married rich when she was younger, but then her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) was arrested and she lost everything. So she turns to her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) for shelter, despite their strained relationship and even though Ginger lives way beyond the standards Jasmine is used to. Jasmine tries to get back on her feet but she isn’t in the most stable state of minds to begin with.

Blue Jasmine mostly lives off Cate Blanchett’s incredible performance, but otherwise pretty much continues Woody Allen’s streak of lukewarm films (as far as I have seen them).

bluejasmine

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Don Jon (2013)

Don Jon
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Writer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson, and with cameos by [SPOILERS] Anne Hathaway, Channing Tatum, Meagan Good, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Plot:
Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) goes out with his friends every weekend and brings home a new girl every weekend too. But actually he’s more interested in watching porn that is better than the actual sex for him. After Saturday’s fun, Sunday’s confession is a given, too. Then Jon meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) who is pretty and knows exactly what she wants. And that includes changing Jon’s life.

Don Jon was sweet and funny. Gordon-Levitt shows a good sense of timing, but sometimes he came on a bit strong and the message and plot could have been handled with more subtlety.

donjon

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