Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Eddie the Eagle
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writer: Sean Macaulay, Simon Kelton
Based on: Eddie Edwards‘ life
Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Iris Berben, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Walken, Edvin Endre
Seen on: 6.4.2016

Plot:
Eddie (Taron Egerton) has always had one dream: he will be an athlete. And not just any kind of athelte, an Olympic athlete competing for the UK. No matter the sport and no matter that he is perpetually hurting himself in his attempts. When he realizes that there is no British ski jumping team, he sees his chance and he grabs it. Making his way to Germany to train with absolutely no support apart from his mother’s (Jo Hartley) unflinching belief in him, he meets Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman): Bronson came close to be one of the greats in his sport, but now he makes his money driving the snow groomer. Eddie does everything he can to convince Peary to train with him so that he can take his shot.

Eddie the Eagle is a fun, entertaining film. It’s not a big cinematic revelation, but it’s a very nice watch with a good story and two engaging leads.

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Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Rock the Kasbah
Director: Barry Levinson
Writer: Mitch Glazer
Cast: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride, Fahim Fazli
Seen on: 5.4.2016

Plot:
Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) is a tour manager who has seen his heyday. Now he only has a handful of unknown acts, the most promising of which is probably Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel). When Richie hears about the tours for soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and what people get paid for those tours, he’s determined to get Ronnie there, despite whatever protests she might utter. She can be convinced but once they land in Kabul, she loses her nerve and takes off with the help of mercenary Bombay Brian (Bruce Willis). As luck will have it, though, Richie stumbles upon fresh new talent in the form of Salima (Leem Lubany). He is determined to get her to the TV show Afghan Star. Only problem is: Pashtun women are not allowed to sing and perform in Afghanistan.

Well. Rock the Kasbah is certainly a film. But it’s a film without direction or much thought or much to recommend it, really.

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Mon roi [My King] (2015)

Mon roi
Director: Maïwenn
Writer: Etienne Comar, Maïwenn
Cast: Emmanuelle Bercot, Vincent Cassel, Louis Garrel, Isild Le Besco, Chrystèle Saint Louis Augustin
Seen on: 3.4.2016

Plot:
Tony (Emmanuelle Bercot) had a serious skiing accident and is now in rehab. This finally gives her time to reflect on her love affair with Georgio (Vincent Cassel). The two fell for each other quickly and deeply. Tony enjoyed Georgio’s exuberance, his energy and life force. He was an adventure and whisked her away. But quickly his devotion to her started to show some serious dark spots and Tony found herself in way over her head.

It’s never much fun to watch a film about an abusive relationship. Mon Roi is no exception. It’s major strength are the characters that are both well-written and well-acted, but it is too long and doesn’t bring much to the table that doesn’t feel a little too clichéd.

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Mustang (2015)

Mustang
Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Writer: Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour
Cast: Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Ilayda Akdogan, Nihal G. Koldas, Ayberk Pekcan, Bahar Kerimoglu, Burak Yigit, Erol Afsin
Seen on: 3.4.2016

Plot:
Lale (Günes Sensoy) and her sisters Nur (Doga Zeynep Doguslu), Selma (Tugba Sunguroglu), Ece (Elit Iscan) and Sonay (Ilayda Akdogan) have a pretty good childhood. But then one day after school their grandmother (Nihal G. Koldas), who is raising them, greets them with accusations and beatings. The neighbors complained about them, they were behaving improperly and flirted with boys. All of a sudden, their childhood is over. The girls are locked away at home, their education reduced to learning how to be a good wife and all of them are to be married off as soon as possible.

Mustang is a beautiful, touching film that deals with many important issues in a thoughtful manner that doesn’t fail to hit home.

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Die Affäre Rue de Lourcine [L’Affaire de la rue de Lourcine]

Die Affäre Rue de Lourcine
Director: Barbara Frey
Writer: Eugène Labiche in Elfriede Jelinek‘s translation/adaptation
Cast: Nicholas Ofczarek, Michael Maertens, Peter Matić, Markus Meyer, Maria Happel
Seen on: 3.4.2016

Plot:
Lenglumé (Nicholas Ofczarek) wakes up one morning after a night of partying. He doesn’t really remember much and only barely recollects that the snoring man next to him is his school friend Mistingue (Michael Maertens) who was with him at their school reunion. Mistingue is doing similarly well. When Lenglumé’s wife Norine (Maria Happel) tells him about the murder of a young, poor woman the previous night, Lenglumé and Mistingue find clues that they were the killers and start putting a plan in motion to conceal their deed.

Die Affäre Rue de Lourcine was funny but also pretty exhausting. I think that another staging would have made it flow much more nicely. Instead it felt pretty long to me in spite of its short 90 minutes running time.

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A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf)

A Room of One’s Own is an essay by Virginia Woolf.
Finished on 3.4.2016
[You can read it here.]

“Plot”:
Virginia Woolf was asked to speak on women and writing at two universities and later published her lectures in an extended essay form – A Room of One’s Own. In this, she tackles several problems that women in general and particularly female writers have to face and why there are so few of them. Above all, Woolf states, women need a room to write – both literally and figuratively speaking.

A Room of One’s Own is a beautifully written, smart essay and, I think, essential reading for everyone who wants to understand the absence of female writers, or actually any unprivileged writers. And while I would like to say that it is outdated, it’s much too accurate even for today’s circumstances.

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Saul fia [Son of Saul] (2015)

Saul fia
Director: László Nemes
Writer: László Nemes, Clara Royer
Cast: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn, Todd Charmont, Jerzy Walczak, Sándor Zsótér, Marcin Czarnik, Kamil Dobrowolski
Seen on: 2.4.2016

Plot:
Saul (Géza Röhrig) is a member of the Sonderkommando in the concentration camp in Auschwitz: himself a prisoner, he is tasked with cleaning up the bodies after they were gassed. One night a boy is still alive after the massacre – and Saul recognizes his son in him. After the boy dies anyway, his body is supposed to be autopsied before being burned. But Saul decides that he has to make sure that he is buried properly so that he can have peace in the afterlife at least.

Son of Saul is a tough piece of film. It’s not only the story and the circumstances, but also the camera work that made it very hard to watch. It’s still worth fighting through it, though.

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Der aufblasbare Kaiser [The Inflatable Emperor] (Michael Ziegelwagner)

Der aufblasbare Kaiser is the first novel by Michael Ziegelwagner. (It hasn’t been translated afaik, but the title literally means The Inflatable Emperor.)
Finished on: 22.5.2016

Plot:
Vera’s life isn’t quite as she wants it to be. After a slip and fall in the bathtub that leads almost disappointingly to just a hurt foot, she finds a small sign advertising the meetings of the Legitimistic Club and almost without meaning to, she goes there. The Legitimistic Club is made up of a handful of men, most older, who are in favor of reinstating the monarchy in Austria with the ageing Otto Habsburg as the Emperor. Vera, who doesn’t think of herself as conservative, has never even thought about the possibility, but finds herself drawn to the club and its slightly dusty ways.

Der aufblasbare Kaiser is one of the most relaxed books I ever read, making it the perfect book to lean back with after a busy day. In enjoyed it a lot, but every once in a while a little more tension wouldn’t have hurt.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character; and Jerry Siegel‘s and Joe Shuster‘s comics chararcter
Sequel to: Man of Steel
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Michael Shannon, Harry Lennix, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carla Gugino, Kevin Costner, Anderson Cooper, Patrick Wilson, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Joe Morton
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 1.4.2016

Plot:
The world loves Superman (Henry Cavill), if not to say that they actually worship him. With his superhuman powers, he is a tremendous hero, of course – but should he ever stop to help humanity, who could possibly put up a fight against him? That’s the question Bruce Wayne, aka Batman (Ben Affleck), asks himself. He has watched everything else around him fall, so it seems only a question of time until Superman falls, too. So Bruce starts to devise a plan with which he might be able to stop Superman, should it ever become necessary. And there are signs that it will.

Batman v Superman is not a good film. That wasn’t to be expected. But it is actually so bad at times, it becomes grotesque. Since I’m late to the party and Ben Dreyfuss already put it beautifully, I’ll give you the perfect quote about the film, before imperfectly listing my own thoughts:

It is incomprehensible! Nothing makes any sense! We all understand that plots in these movies don’t make sense. Of course they don’t. That’s standard. But in this movie nothing makes sense on a scene level. In a lot of movies that make no sense on a plot level, the person will say, “I am going to rob this fruit store,” and you can quibble about why a person would rob a fruit store, but the characters in the movie accept it and go about robbing the fruit store and we go along with it. They have conviction and authenticity and they really try to rob that fruit store good, even if we in the audience think they are being ridiculous for robbing a fruit store, because when it really works, it doesn’t matter. In Batman v Superman the characters say, “I am going to rob this fruit store,” and then go into the fruit store, throw fruit in the air, paint the walls with fruit, pay for the fruit, use the fruit as puppets in improv comedy, have a dance party with the fruit, build a home in the fruit store, burn the fruit store down, exit the smoldering husk of the fruit store and announce, “I robbed the vegetable store.”

batmanvsuperman[SPOILERS]

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Miss You Already (2015)

Miss You Already
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writer: Morwenna Banks
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Paddy Considine, Dominic Cooper, Jacqueline Bisset, Tyson Ritter
Seen on: 1.4.2016

Plot:
Jess (Drew Barrymore) and Milly (Toni Collette) have been friends for pretty much their entire lives, despite or maybe because their not inconsiderable differences. While Jess is trying to have children with her husband Jago (Paddy Considine), Milly, who lives with her husband Kit (Dominic Cooper) and their kids and is successful in her career, is diagnosed with breast cancer. Now they both have entirely new challenges to face.

Miss You Already is like a modern Beaches: a wonderful, touching film with complex, strong, female protagonists that unabashedly centers women in its narrative.

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