The End of the Tour (2015)

The End of the Tour
Director: James Ponsoldt
Writer: Donald Margulies
Based on: David Lipsky‘s memor Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel, Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Gummer, Joan Cusack, Ron Livingston
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) is a writer. He just published his first novel, more or less at the same time that David Foster Wallace‘s (Jason Segel) Infinite Jest came out, against the backdrop of which Lipsky’s own novel disappears. Jealous he reads it and finds that the critics were right with their praise of Wallace’s novel. So Lipsky arranges for an interview with Wallace for Rolling Stone magazine. Wallace, notoriously publicity shy, agrees to have Lipsky trail him for a few days during the end of his book tour.

The End of the Tour may have occasional lengths, but for a film that is basically just an extended conversation between two people, it is incredibly engaging and well-made.

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Writer: Jesse Andrews
Based on: Jesse Andrewsnovel
Cast: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal, [Spoiler] Hugh Jackman
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Greg (Thomas Mann) glides through High School doing everything he can not to be noticed and not to get too close to anyone. Even his best friend Earl (RJ Cyler) is just a co-worker to him. When his mother (Connie Britton) hears that her friend Denise’ (Molly Shannon) daughter Rachel (Olivia Cooke) has cancer, she forces Greg to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel. Both aren’t exactly happy about it, but somehow they manage to get past the initial awkwardness.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a film that manages to make you laugh and cry, touching on important issues in a lighthearted and sweet way that still takes things seriously.


[Slight Spoilers]

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Behind Jim Jarmusch (2010) + Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch (2014)

Behind Jim Jarmusch + Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch
Director: Léa Rinaldi
Writer: Léa Rinaldi
“Cast”: Jim JarmuschIsaach De BankoléJohn Hurt, Bill MurrayTilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2015

Both Behind Jim Jarmusch and Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch are documentaries about the creative process of director Jim Jarmusch. Rinaldi followed Jarmusch during the shot of The Limits of Control and then again a couple of years later during the work on Only Lovers Left Alive, trying to grasp how Jarmusch gets to work.

Behind Jim Jarmusch was Rinaldi’s first documentary and you can see how much she learned, so that Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch becomes the much better film. But both are interesting to see, especially if you like Jim Jarmusch’s films as they give you a look into the creation of something special.

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Die Erben [The Inheritors] (1983)

Die Erben
Director: Walter Bannert
Writer: Walter Bannert, Erich A. Richter
Cast: Nikolas Vogel, Roger Schauer, Wolfgang Gasser, Anneliese Stöckl-Eberhard, Jaromír Borek, John Ottwald, Helmut KahnEdd Stavjanik
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2015

Thomas (Nikolas Vogel) comes from a rich but cold family. When he meets Charly (Roger Schauer) who comes from the opposite end of the social spectrum but is no closer to his own family, Thomas quickly feels kinship mixed with adoration for Charly’s loud brashness. When Charly brings Thomas to a youth center run by an extremely right-wing party, they both become more and more entangled in the party and their ideology.

Die Erben might be a little long but it’s – still, unfortunately – unbelievably current. It’s not perfect, but it’s an interesting look at how (right-wing) recruiting and radicalization works.

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Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015)

Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Director: Chloé Zhao
Writer: Chloé Zhao
Cast: John ReddyJashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Taysha Fuller
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2015

Johnny (John Reddy) and Jashaun (Jashaun St. John) live in a Lakota reservation with their alcoholic mother Lisa (Irene Bedard). As their oldest brother is in jail, Johnny is trying to keep the family afloat by smuggling and selling alcohol on the reservation. But he’s also finishing high school and dreams of living for LA with his girlfriend Aurelia (Taysha Fuller). When their estranged father dies in an accident, Johnny and Jashaun connect with their half-siblings – their father had 25 children with 9 women. As Johnny spends more time with the alcohol business he expanded with the help of a newly acquired car, Jashaun explores the lives of her brothers.

Songs My Brothers Taught Me is above all interesting because of the setting in the Lakota reservation. But I also quite liked the characters and I really enjoyed the atmosphere Zhao created.

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The Devil’s Candy (2015)

The Devil’s Candy
Director: Sean Byrne
Writer: Sean Byrne
Cast: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Kiara Glasco, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Craig Nigh, Marco Perella, Orion West, Mylinda Royer
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Jesse (Ethan Embry), Astrid (Shiri Appleby) and their daughter Zooey (Kiara Glasco) just bought a foreclosed house outside of the city. Even though Astrid and Zooey will have a longer commute that way, it gives them more space and Jesse, who is a painter, can have his own studio there. But there is something evil about the house. The previous owners died and their son Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince), who seems to have a disability, can’t really stay away from his former home. But then Jesse starts hearing voices and painting weird things, as if something was taking over.

The Devil’s Candy worked very well for me – until the last ten minutes or so, where it falls so completely apart that it threatens even the good 80 minutes that came before.

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La mujer de los perros [Dog Lady] (2015)

La mujer de los perros
Director: Laura Citarella, Verónica Llinás
Writer: Laura Citarella, Verónica Llinás
Cast: Verónica Llinás, Germán de Silva
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2015

A woman (Verónica Llinás) lives in a self-built, ramshackle hut with her eight or so dogs. Apart from the dogs, she’s on her own, spending her days scavenging and hunting for food and mostly avoids human contact.

La mujer de los perros doesn’t really have a plot. Instead you watch a part of the routine of the woman (who remains nameless, if I’m not mistaken). While this could have been a recipe for utter boredom, somehow the film has a rhythm that draws you in and Verónica Llinás has a presence that keeps you hooked. The cute dogs are a bonus.

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Die toten Fische [Mortal Fortune] (1989)

Die toten Fische
Director: Michael Synek
Writer: Michael Synek
Based on: Boris Vian‘s short story Les poissons morts
Cast: Erwin LederJohannes WeidingerGerhard Swoboda, Joe Berger, Lisa Luginbuhl, Martin Schellnast
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 29.10.2015

A worker (Erwin Leder) slowly moves through a swamp. He’s fishing, trying to catch the best stamps to bring home to his boss who collects them. After a long and arduous day, he tiredly returns to the city where things become even more surreal and it becomes ever more apparent how much pressure the worker is under – from ticket controllers to his own employer, everybody seems to have it out for him.

Die toten Fische is a beautiful film with a fascinating history so far. Even though it was followed by one of the worst Q&As I ever witnessed, I left the cinema feeling like I saw something special.

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The Last Road (2012)

The Last Road
Director: John Wheeler
Writer: John Wheeler
Cast: Aaron Long, Simon Sokowlowski, Laura Marklew, Irina Fisher, Sarah Jane Williams
Seen on: 2.12.2015
[Screener Review.]

Toby (Aaron Long) lives in a small town in England where he gets by, just, by boxing and some little businesses that aren’t always strictly legal. He takes care of his mother as best he can, which is not very well and unfortunately includes abusing her. The only one he has a tension free relationship with is his dog Prince. But then Prince is killed in front of Toby at the hands of one of his business partners who is trying to punish Toby. In his next fight, Toby loses control completely. As does his opponent who cuts Toby’s throat. The freshly deceased Toby returns home, where he gets chased away by a ghost (Irina Fisher). As he wanders forlornly, Edith (Sarah Jane Williams) picks him up and informs him that she is to pass judgment whether he is allowed to go to Heaven or has to go to Hell. It doesn’t take long until Toby finds himself in purgatory, on the last road.

The Last Road works with an interesting, but slightly undercooked concept. For a first time filmmaker, it’s not bad but it does come with its share of flaws.

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Results (2015)

Director: Andrew Bujalski
Writer: Andrew Bujalski
Cast: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Brooklyn Decker, Anthony Michael Hall, Constance Zimmer
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 29.10.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Recently divorced Danny (Kevin Corrigan) doesn’t know what to do with the sudden wealth he just inherited surprisingly. But he knows that he wants things to change. So he approaches Trevor (Guy Pearce), who runs a fitness studio, looking for a personal trainer. Trevor’s most successful personal trainer is Kat (Cobie Smulders) who likes to disappear in her work. Trevor is initially hesitant to send Kat to Danny because he gets a weird vibe of Danny, but Kat insists anyway. Danny’s egocentric indecisiveness quickly upends both Trevor’s and Kat’s lives.

Results starts off well enough, but loses its momentum in the middle and then veers off into a direction I just couldn’t go along with, ending on a very sour note.

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