Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Hampton FancherMichael Green
Based on: Philip K. Dick‘s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Sequel to: Blade Runner
Cast: Ryan GoslingHarrison FordRobin WrightAna de Armas, Dave BautistaEdward James OlmosJared LetoHiam AbbassMackenzie Davis, Lennie JamesBarkhad Abdi
Seen on: 15.10.2017
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Plot:
K (Ryan Gosling) is a replicant who works as a blade runner – a section of the police tasked with hunting down rogue replicants and killing them. During one of those hunts, K finds evidence that there was a replicant who managed to reproduce sexually: she became pregnant and had a child which was believed to be impossible. K’s superior officer Joshi (Robin Wright) fears the repercussions if that fact became wide knowledge and tells K to find the child and kill it. This leads K to question his own past as well.

Blade Runner 2049 was so incredibly boring that I could barely stand it. Since it’s also racist and sexist, it probably would have been better if it hadn’t been made at all.

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The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo)

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a novel written Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.
Finished on: 14.10.2017

Plot:
Abilene gets a china rabbit from her grandmother as a gift and said rabbit – Edward Tulane – quickly becomes her most treasured possession. So it’s no surprise that the naturally vain Edward becomes even more convinced of his own perfection. But then he falls overboard from the ship Abilene and her family are vacationing on. This is the start of a long and arduous journey for Edward.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a touching book for all ages that doesn’t shortchange any age group. It really is a beautiful read.

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Victoria & Abdul (2017)

Victoria & Abdul
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Lee Hall
Based on: Shrabani Basu’s book
Cast: Judi DenchAli FazalTim Pigott-SmithEddie IzzardAdeel AkhtarMichael GambonPaul HigginsOlivia WilliamsFenella WoolgarJulian WadhamRobin SoansRuth McCabeSimon Callow
Seen on: 14.10.2017
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Plot:
As Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) celebrates the 50th year of her reign, two Muslim Indians are chosen to present her with a commemorative coin. One of them is Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). Abdul is excited at the chance to visit England and see the Queen, and in his excitement he forgets the most important rule and makes eye-contact with her. Instead of catastrophe, this leads to Victoria striking up a friendship with Abdul who teaches her about India and much more.

Victoria & Abdul left me deeply uncomfortable and its blatant ignorance of colonialism and the power structures involved – despite the topic at hand. That overshadowed everything else for me.

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Carry On (Rainbow Rowell)

Carry On is a novel by Rainbow Rowell. It’s – kind of – a spin-off from Fangirl.
Finished on: 14.10.2017

Plot:
Simon Snow is in his final year at the magical school of Watford. Simon is the Chosen One, prophesised to defeat the Insidious Humdrum, an honor Simon could really do without. Especially since his hold on magic is tenuous at best. But together with his best friend Penelope, who has an excellent grasp of magic, Simon is ready to face the world. Even his roommate Baz who Simon is sure is up to no good. Baz really does think more about Simon than he probably should, but it’s not really because his intentions are evil.

Carry On is a quick, fun read and really drew me in, despite a couple of issues I had here and there. It definitely managed to make me smile.

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Axolotl Overkill (2017)

Axolotl Overkill
Director: Helene Hegemann
Writer: Helene Hegemann
Based on: Helene Hegemann‘s novel Axolotl Roadkill
Cast: Jasna Fritzi BauerArly JoverLaura TonkeJulius FeldmeierMavie HörbigerSabine VituaBernhard Schütz
Seen on: 13.10.2017
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Plot:
Mifti (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) lives with her brother (Julius Feldmeier) and sister (Laura Tonke), their rich father (Bernhard Schütz) having other ideas of how to spend his time than with his children. Mifti drifts through Berlin, barely going to school. But when she does, she meets Ophelia (Mavie Hörbiger), an actress who has been sentenced to community hours in the school kitchen. The two start drifting through Berlin’s club scene together. It’s around that time that Mifti also meets the intriguing, much older Alice (Arly Jover) in the supermarket who sparks her fantasies.

Axolotl Overkill is a fascinating, well-made film that is a little marred by its author/director. But that shouldn’t keep you from seeing it.

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Happy End (2017)

Happy End
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
Cast: Isabelle HuppertJean-Louis TrintignantMathieu KassovitzFantine HarduinFranz RogowskiLaura VerlindenAurélia PetitToby Jones
Seen on: 12.10.2017
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Plot:
After her mother is admitted to the hospital, Eve (Fantine Harduin) moves in with her father Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz) and his new wife Anais (Laura Verlinden). They all live in Eve’s grandfather Georges’s (Jean-Louis Trintignant) house. Georges is starting to show symptoms of dementia and is desperately trying to keep control of his life. His business has already been taken over by his daughter Anne (Isabelle Huppert) who struggles with problems at work. In this difficult constellation, it comes as no surprise that secrets start coming to light everywhere.

Happy End, unfortunately, is a weak film, at least for a Haneke film. There was a lot of potential and some very good stuff, but it just doesn’t really come together.

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Love Steaks (2013)

Love Steaks
Director: Jakob Lass
Writer: Jakob Lass, Ines SchillerTimon SchäppiNico Woche
Cast: Lana CooperFranz RogowskiKerstin AbendrothDaniel AlznauerEric PoppRalf Winter
Seen on: 11.10.2017
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Plot:
Clemens (Franz Rogowski) just started working at a spa hotel. He is allowed to stay in a small storage room there and starts learning. But when the meek Clemens meets the rebellious Lara (Lana Cooper) who works in the kitchen, sparks start flying. As the two get more and more wrapped into each other, that spark between them starts to cause chaos in the entire hotel.

Love Steaks wasn’t my cup of tea. Difficult people in broken relationships is an interesting topic but if you try to sell it to me as romance, I’m out. And that’s what happened here.

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Der Fluch [The Curse] (1925) + Gabriela Montero

Der Fluch
Director: Robert Land
Writer: Walter ReischErnst Weizmann
Cast: Oscar Beregi Sr.Lilian Harvey, Ferdinand BonnAlbert HeineAnny HornikReinhold HäussermannRia JászonyiAnton Pointner
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Gabriela Montero
Seen on: 10.10.2017
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Plot:
Jehuda (Oscar Beregi Sr.) impresses the young Lea (Anny Hornik) and Lea’s devout father Esra (Albert Heine) agrees to their engagement. But before they can actually get married, Jehuda falls for Rahel (Ria Jászonyi) and not caring much for Lea, leaves her. Heartbroken Lea commits suicide. Esra confronts Jehuda and curses him, but Jehuda is unwilling to contemplate his part in the tragedy for many years.

Der Fluch didn’t really work for me. While it was interesting to get an authentic look at a Jewish settlement from a pre-World War 2 time, nothing else about the film really managed to convince me.

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A Gathering of Shadows (V.E. Schwab)

A Gathering of Shadows is the second novel in Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab [aka Victoria Schwab].
Finished on: 10.10.2017
[Here’s my review of the first novel.]

Plot:
It’s been months since Kell and Lila had to face White London, and things are settling. Lila has gone to be a pirate as she’s always dreamed, while Kell is trying to find his place with the royal family again. But things are tense, having lost the trust of the King and Queen and still having to figure out the changed relationship with Rhy. With the approach of an international magic contest in Red London, it is even more imperative that things start to run smoothly again. But the other Londons still harbor some surprises.

A Gathering of Shadows was a good, quick read, but I did have my problems with it, starting with the magic tournament angle (incredibly overdone) to character development.

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The Endless (2017)

The Endless
Director: Justin BensonAaron Moorhead
Writer: Justin Benson
Cast: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie HernandezJames JordanEmily MontagueTate EllingtonLew TempleRic SarabiaKira Powell
Part of: Secret Society Screening at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017
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Plot:
Justin (Justin Benson) and Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) are brothers who managed to get out of a cult and have slowly been adjusting to life outside of it. But when they get a video from another member of the cult, it re-opens that chapter of their lives and the two decide to head back there to figure things out and find closure. However, once they arrive, the cult starts to make more sense than they ever thought before.

If The Endless hadn’t been a surprise screening, I probably would have avoided it – that’s how much I hated Benson and Moorhead’s first film, Spring. But I have to admit that Endless wasn’t bad, even though I didn’t fall head over heels for it.

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