Child’s Play (1988)

Child’s Play
Director: Tom Holland
Writer: Don ManciniJohn Lafia, Tom Holland
Cast: Catherine HicksChris SarandonAlex VincentBrad DourifDinah ManoffTommy Swerdlow
Seen on: 3.9.2017
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Plot:
Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) is being chased by the police, particularly Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon). He flees into a toystore where he’s shot. But Charles is versed in voodoo – and manages to transfer his soul into one of the Good Guy dolls on sale. Through some twists of fate, the doll ends up with Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) who got the doll for her son Andy (Alex Vincent). Just because he lives in a doll, though, Charles hasn’t left behind his murderous ways – and he needs an actual human body soon, before he turns into the doll he possesses.

When it was announced that they would show the latest “Chucky” film at the /slash Filmfestival this year, I knew I had to get started on closing that particular gap in my horror movie knowledge. Child’s Play, then, wasn’t bad, though the reason for the cult status of the series didn’t become apparent to me.

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Into the Forest (2015)

Into the Forest
Director: Patricia Rozema
Writer: Patricia Rozema
Based on: Jean Hegland’s novel
Cast: Ellen PageEvan Rachel WoodMax MinghellaCallum Keith RennieMichael EklundWendy Crewson
Seen on: 2.9.2017
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Plot:
Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) grow up with their father (Callum Keith Rennie) just outside of a small town in the Redwood Forest. But then something happens and slowly the infrastructure around them falls apart. First there is no more electricity, then no more gas and then they are entirely isolated in their forest home. When they realize that power, infrastructure and life as it was won’t be reinstated any time soon, Nell and Eva have to try and manage their lives on their own.

Into the Forest is not only a great adaptation of the novel I utterly loved, but simply a beautiful film in its own right.

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Barefoot in the Park (1967)

Barefoot in the Park
Director: Gene Saks
Writer: Neil Simon
Based on: his own play
Cast: Robert RedfordJane FondaCharles BoyerMildred NatwickHerb EdelmanMabel Albertson
Seen on: 2.9.2017
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Plot:
Paul (Robert Redford) and Corie (Jane Fonda) just got married and are about to move into their new apartment. Corie is excited about it, even if there are some drawbacks with the place they got, while Paul just sees the flaws – like the walk up five flights of stairs – and nothing else. And with a strange neighbor in Victor Velasco (Charles Boyer) who sometimes uses their apartment to get to his, and with Corie’s mather Ethel (Mildred Natwick) joining them for a few days, their marriage is under a lot of pressure very soon.

Barefoot in the Park is not a great film and it didn’t age well in all respects, but it is a rather entertaining screwball comedy.

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Kedi [Cat] (2016)

Kedi
Director: Ceyda Torun
Seen on: 31.8.2017
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“Plot”:
Istanbul has a special relationship with the cats that live in it. There are the cats who live with people and those that just live next to them. But there are always people who find themselves taking care of cats – and through taking care of them, also taking care of themselves.

Kedi is a beautiful and very sweet documentary, especially but not exclusively for people who like cats (or pets in general). It’s touching and funny and filled with cats – and that is simply a good time.

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Maman Colonelle [Mama Colonel] (2017)

Maman Colonelle
Director: Dieudo Hamadi
Part of: Viennale (surprise preview)
Seen on: 30.8.2017
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“Plot”:
Honorine Munyole is a police officer in Kisangani, having just moved there from Bukavu. In Kisangani she continues her work at the head of a department that deals with sexualized and domestic violence against women and children. It’s no easy task and not necessarily easier by her colleagues, either, but she’s determined to make it work.

Maman Colonelle is a very good documentary about an interesting topic, but it was utterly misplaced as a surprise film which made it a little hard to watch.

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Viceroy’s House (2017)

Viceroy’s House
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Writer: Paul Mayeda BergesMoira Buffini, Gurinder Chadha
Cast: Hugh BonnevilleGillian AndersonManish DayalHuma QureshiMichael GambonOm PuriDavid HaymanSimon CallowDenzil SmithNeeraj KabiTanveer GhaniLily Travers
Seen on: 30.8.2017
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Plot:
Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) arrive in India as Mountbatten is tasked with overseeing the transition from India to independence from British colonialism. It’s a job where Mountbatten has a very slim chance to come out on top, as religious and political tensions in India are high. A fact that is also very apparent to Jeet (Manish Dayal), a Hindu who just started working at the Viceroy’s palace. There he finds Aalia (Huma Qureshi) again, a young Muslim woman who he used to be in love with. And while Aalia seems to like Jeet as well, things really aren’t easy.

There were a couple of things I struggled with during the film, but it was an engaging film, albeit one that doesn’t quite manage to be the film it could have been.

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Taika Waititi, Te Arepa Kahi
Based on: Barry Crump‘s novel Wild Pork and Watercress
Cast: Sam NeillJulian DennisonRima Te WiataRachel HouseTioreore Ngatai-MelbourneOscar KightleyStan WalkerMike MinogueCohen HollowayRhys DarbyTroy Kingi, Taika Waititi
Seen on: 25.8.2017
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Plot:
Ricky (Julian Dennison) has been moving from foster family to foster family, getting in trouble. As a last resort, he’s being sent to the country to stay with Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hector (Sam Neill). And to all of their surprise, especially Ricky’s, he starts to feel at home there. That’s when Bella dies very surprisingly. And since she was the driving force behind taking Ricky in, Child Services – in the form of Paula (Rachel House) – decide it would be best to take Ricky away. But Ricky isn’t having it. He runs away. Hector goes after him, and their disappearance kicks off a manhunt that could end very badly.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople was pure sugar and has very funny moments. It’s not perfect, but I enjoyed it a lot.

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Sie nannten ihn Spencer [They Called Him Bulldozer] (2017)

Sie nannten ihn Spencer
Director: Karl-Martin Pold
Writer: Karl-Martin Pold
Seen on: 24.8.2017
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“Plot”:
Marcus and Jorgo are probably the biggest Bud Spencer and Terence Hill fans there are. Both of them have a long-lasting and very emotional connection to their films: Jorgo – who is blind – always listened to them when he was a child. Marcus had a bad accident and the films helped him in his recovery. Marcus and Jorgo meet at a fan event and find kindred spirits in each other. They decide, more or less on a whim, to try and track down Bud Spencer to try and thank him for what he has meant in their lives. It’s a mission that takes them a long time and has them driving through Europe.

I went into this film expecting something different from what I got, but it was an enjoyable, albeit a little lenghty experience nevertheless.

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Die göttliche Ordnung [The Divine Order] (2017)

Die göttliche Ordnung
Director: Petra Biondina Volpe
Writer: Petra Biondina Volpe
Cast: Marie LeuenbergerMaximilian SimonischekRachel BraunschweigSibylle BrunnerMarta ZoffoliBettina StuckyNoe KrejcíElla RumpfNicholas Ofczarek
Seen on: 23.8.2017
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Plot:
Nora (Marie Leuenberger) is a young housewife and mother, happy with her husband Hans (Maximilian Simonischek). Things could go on forever like they have and it feels like they did. But even the remotest Swiss town will be touched by the 68 movement. For Nora it comes in the shape of the discussion about the right for women to vote. And she finds that in 1971, this really shouldn’t be a discussion anymore, but a reality. As she starts to campaign in her village, though, she realizes that far from everybody shares her conviction.

Die göttliche Ordnung is a lighthearted, feminist comedy that manages to balance serious politics with a sense of humor. It’s enjoyable, though maybe a little too well behaved.

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The Promise (2016)

The Promise
Director: Terry George
Writer: Terry George, Robin Swicord
Cast: Oscar IsaacCharlotte Le BonChristian BaleDaniel Giménez CachoShohreh AghdashlooMarwan KenzariAngela SarafyanTom HollanderJean Reno
Seen on: 22.8.2017
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Plot:
Mikael (Oscar Isaac) wants nothing more than to become a doctor. So he travels to Constantinople, where he can stay with his uncle, and starts studying. Also staying with his uncle is the beautiful Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), a French dance instructor who teaches Mikael’s nieces. Mikael and Ana hit it off, but Ana is already dating American journalist Chris (Christian Bale). The love triangle that ensues is interrupted, though, when the political situation in the Ottoman Empire shifts, war is declared and Mikael, as an Armenian, finds himself in grave peril.

The Promise tells an important story, but unfortunately it doesn’t tell it particularly well, making it feel way too long and less engaging and devastating than it should have been.

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