What Would Spock Do?

What Would Spock Do?
Director: Jon Brittain
Writer: Jon Brittain
Cast: Sam Donnelly
Part of: Fringe @ Rabenhof
Seen on: 1.4.2017

Gary (Sam Donnelly) used to be a nerd. He loved Star Trek above everything else. But now that he’s an adult, he grew out of it. Or at least, that’s what he tells himself. Until he meets his new colleague Kira at work: she wears her hair like Spock. She wears a Star Trek pin. And she’s absolutely perfect. But what weighs more heavily: not being a nerd or being in love with Kira? Gary will have to decide.

What Would Spock Do? is an utterly charming one-man show that’s cute and funny and speaks to and probably for the outsider inside all of us, albeit sticking with a rather conservative narrative.

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Life (2017)

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Cast: Ryan ReynoldsRebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dykhovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare
Seen on: 29.3.2017

Six astronauts/scientists on the International Space Station study samples that have just been successfully collected on Mars. They hope to find out more about the conditions on Mars, but what they find instead is actually life: a single cell organism that’s either dead or dormant – but it’s there. They can barely contain their excitement, especially when their attempts to revive the organism are actually successful. But they have never encountered a live form like this – and it quickly turns out that it’s more than they bargained for.

Life is a decent, albeit derivative film that works pretty well – at least if you don’t keep comparing it with the Alien franchise it is a little sibling of.

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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Beauty and the Beast
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Based on: Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont‘s fairy tale
Remake of: Beauty and the Beast
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Seen on: 29.3.2017

Belle (Emma Watson) lives in a small village with her father Maurice (Kevin Kline), an inventor. Her life wouldn’t be so bad if the local library had more books and if village beau Gaston (Luke Evans) wasn’t constantly harrassing her with marriage proposals. Then one day, Maurice doesn’t return from the market as planned. When Belle sets out to find him, what she finds is an enchanted castle, where a Beast (Dan Stevens) is holding her father captive. Fearless as she is, Belle takes Maurice place. And she might just be what the Beast needed to break the curse that weighs on them all.

This live-action version of the film isn’t strictly necessary and there were a couple of things that really didn’t go all that well, but the film was nevertheless enjoyable and managed to capture the magic of the animated version at least in part.

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Emigranten [Emigrants]

Director: Agnieszka Salamon
Writer: Sławomir Mrożek
Cast: Denise Teipel, Cristina Maria Ablinger
Seen on: 27.3.2017

A (Denise Teipel) and X (Cristina Maria Ablinger) both migrated to the same place and now share a small room. But that’s about everything they have in common: A is an intellectual, a studied woman who had to leave her country of origin for political reasons. X is an uncouth worker, a farmer who left looking for work and a better life. Forced together by circumstances and not particularly fond of each other, A and X spend most of their time going toe to toe with each other. But you can’t go toe to toe without also growing close in a way.

Emigranten is an interesting play and it’s made even more interesting by the production that re-imagines it in a fresh way. It was an insightful and very enjoyable evening of theater.

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Doua lozuri [Two Lottery Tickets] (2016)

Doua lozuri
Director: Paul Negoescu
Writer: Paul Negoescu
Based on: Ion Luca Caragiale‘s short story
Cast: Dragos Bucur, Alexandru Papadopol, Dorian Boguta, Nora Cupcencu, Andi Vasluianu
Part of: Let’s CEE Film Festival
Seen on: 25.3.2017

Sile (Dragos Bucur), Dine (Dorian Boguta) and Pompiliu (Alexandru Papadopol) are all in need of money, so they decide to play the lottery together – and they win. Unfortunately, though, the ticket has gone missing. Or maybe it was stolen? Hoping to get it back, the three friends take to the road, but things become more difficult than anticipated and the merry chase even merrier.

Two Lottery Tickets doesn’t bring a new story, but it does manage to be quite funny regardless – that is, when it isn’t being sexist and antisemitic. Unfortunately, it is sexist and antisemitic a lot.

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Tiszta szívvel [Kills on Wheels] (2016)

Tiszta szívvel
Director: Attila Till
Writer: Attila Till
Cast: Szabolcs Thuróczy, Zoltán Fenyvesi, Ádám Fekete, Mónika Balsai, Lídia Danis, Dusán Vitanovics
Part of: Let’s CEE Film Festival
Seen on: 25.3.2017

Zolika (Zoltán Fenyvesi) and Barba Papa (Ádám Fekete) are best friends who dream of action. When they meet Rupaszov (Szabolcs Thuróczy), a former firefighter who has to use a wheelchair since an accident, they find the perfect place for their fantasies in his bitter and rough personality and the fact that he works for the mafia as a hitman. Zoli and Barba are looking for adventure and money – Zoli needs a life-saving surgery he can’t afford – and so they become Rupaszov’s assistants.

Tiszta szívvel is not only a very entertaining and well-made film, it’s also excellent disability representation (at least for disabled men). I wish there were more films like it.

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Magdalena Sünderin (Lilian Faschinger)

Magdalena Sünderin [literally: Magdalena Sinner] is a novel by Lilian Faschinger.
Finished on: 24.3.2017

Magdalena has lived an eventful life and finds that it is time to confess. To make sure that she has the undivided attention, she decides the best way to do that is to simply abduct a priest. So she grabs priest Christian, brings him to a remote location, ties him to a tree and tells him about her life with seven different men and the ends they found – at her hand.

I liked a lot about Magdalena Sünderin, but the book never really won me over completely. I would have liked to like it more.

[Slight Spoilers]

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Martin Rütter: nachSITZen

Martin Rütter is a dog trainer and stand-up comedian from Germany.
Seen on: 23.3.2017

Rütter’s program consists of dog (training) stories and a couple of training tips as well. If you live(d) with dogs, a lot of it is probably going to strike a nerve. For me, the dog stuff was great. Unfortunately Rütter mixes in a lot of sexism as well, which was less fun.

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Science Busters: Winter Is Coming – The Science of Game of Thrones

Science Busters is a comedy edutainment concept that takes scientists, puts them on stage and lets them talk about a popculture topic from a scientific point of view. They have different programs. So far I saw “The Physics of Star Trek”, “The Pleasure Formula“ and “Crucifixion Party – The Science of Christianity“. This time I saw “Winter Is Coming – The Science of Game of Thrones“.

The program is moderated by Austrian comedian Martin Puntigam, the scientists in this case are Elisabeth Oberzaucher (behavioral biology), Martin Moder (molecular biology) and Florian Freistetter (astronomy).

Science Busters is an entertaining format that nicely connects popular culture with (natural) sciences. The topics they chose for this Game of Thrones night were a little arbitrary, but the evening was absolutely fun.

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Moonlight (2016)

Director: Barry Jenkins
Writer: Barry Jenkins
Based on: Tarell Alvin McCraney‘s unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue
Cast: Alex R. HibbertAshton SandersTrevante Rhodes, Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, André Holland, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris
Seen on: 14.3.2017

Chiron, called Little (Alex R. Hibbert), grows up in a rather rough neighborhood in Miami. One day, as he runs from bullies, drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) find him and, together with his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monáe), they offer Chiron a place where he can find the safety his own mother (Naomie Harris), an addict, is unable to give him. And Chiron, who struggles not only with being bullied but also with his crush on Kevin (Jaden Piner) and what that means for his life, needs sanctuary maybe more than most. But things don’t last and as Chiron grows to an adolescent (Ashton Sanders) and then a young man (Trevante Rhodes), he continues to fight and find a place in this world where he can just be.

Moonlight is a beautiful, emotional film that tells a story from an unusual and very much needed point of view. It’s a film very every frame is in the right place, the soundtrack complements the story perfectly and it hits every emotional beat for maximum effect. It’s amazing.

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