The Room (2003)

The Room
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Writer: Tommy Wiseau
Cast: Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle, Greg Sestero, Philip Haldiman, Carolyn Minnott, Robyn Paris, Mike Holmes
Seen on: 26.1.2018
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Plot:
Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) is successful, rich and has a beautiful fiancée, Lida (Juliette Danielle). With his tight circle of friends – tightest of all being Mark (Greg Sestero) – he has a happy and pretty much carefree life. His wedding is fast approaching, but something is happening with Lisa: she seems to take a sudden interest in Mark. And Mark can’t withstand her manipulations.

The Room is famous for being one of the worst movies ever. It’s so bad that it has garnered a cult following. You’ve got to see it to believe it – and I have to say that seeing it is an absolute experience, especially when you’re watching it with a crowd.

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The Disaster Artist (2017)

The Disaster Artist
Director: James Franco
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Based on: Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell‘s book of the same name
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Paul Scheer, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, June Diane Raphael, Megan Mullally, Jason Mantzoukas, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Hannibal Buress, Bob Odenkirk, Randall Park, Dree Hemingway, Zoey Deutch, Ike Barinholtz, Kevin Smith, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam Scott, Danny McBride, Kristen Bell, J.J. Abrams, Lizzy Caplan, Judd Apatow, Zach Braff, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau
Seen on: 26.1.2017
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Plot:
Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) dreams of being an actor and making it big. In one of his acting classes, he meets Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). Tommy is a strange guy, but Greg is struck by his mysterious charisma and generall weirdness. They become unlikely friends. And since Tommy seems to have a lot of money, he can offer Greg a chance that he wouldn’t otherwise get: they should go to Hollywood together, stardom is sure to follow. But when it doesn’t, Tommy makes a new plan: he will make a film himself for them and then their film is going to make them famous.

The Disaster Artist is fun to watch, at least if you can take a huge James Franco ego project, because that’s what it is, too. Mostly it’s a good story that kept me glued to the screen.

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Darkest Hour (2017)

Darkest Hour
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, David Strathairn
Seen on: 25.1.2018
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Plot:
Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) just became Prime Minister of the UK and he already has a huge decision to make: should he enter into peace negotiations with Nazi Germany or should he refuse any kind of arrangement with them, even if that means waging war against them? With less than enthusiastic support from the most powerful people around him, Churchill tries to make his decision.

To put it plainly, Darkest Hour is not a good film. Maybe it would have stood a chance with another (better) script, but what we got is just insufferable

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Call Me by Your Name (André Aciman)

Call Me by Your Name is a novel by André Aciman.
Finished on: 25.1.2018

Plot:
Teenager Elio spends the summer in Italy with his parents as every year. And as every year, they are joined by a doctoral student who can work with Elio’s father – a professor – and revise his own writing. Elio isn’t too thrilled about the intrusion that costs him his room. But this year the student who shows up is Oliver and Oliver has something about him. Elio realizes that he is in love with Oliver, but Oliver’s detached and sometimes outright brazen manner leaves little doubt that he doesn’t reciprocate the feelings.

Call Me By Your Name has a beautiful first half and a more difficult second half. I enjoyed it, but not without reservations.

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Cast: Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Bill Camp, Denise Dal Vera
Seen on: 24.1.2018
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Plot:
Steven (Colin Farrell) is a successful surgeon with a beautiful wife, Anna (Nicole Kidman) and two children, Bob (Sunny Suljic) and Kim (Raffey Cassidy). He’s also mentoring a young man, Martin (Barry Keoghan) who wants to be a doctor – an unusually intense relationship that seems to take over more and more of Steven’s life and brings Martin into Steven’s family.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer starts off strong, but once the actual story started, it began to lose me and started to drag. Nevertheless, it’s a very interesting film.

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Life Guidance (2017)

Life Guidance
Writer: Ruth Mader
Director: Martin Leidenfrost, Ruth Mader
Cast: Fritz Karl, Katharina Lorenz, Florian Teichtmeister, Nicolas Jarosch, Petra Morzé, Udo Samel, Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, Johann Adam Oest
Seen on: 22.1.2018
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Plot:
Alexander (Fritz Karl) is married to Anna (Katharina Lorenz). They have a son (Nicolas Jarosch) and by the looks of it, their life is pretty much perfect. But then Alexander says something that worries Life Guidance, the organisation in charge of helping people living the best life they can possibly live. They send in their agent, Gregor (Florian Teichtmeister), to make sure that Alexander stays on track.

I wanted to like Life Guidance – being an Austrian Science Fiction film made by a woman – much more than I actually did. While it has strong parts, it just doesn’t come together as it should.

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The Ugly Truth (2009)

The Ugly Truth
Director: Robert Luketic
Writer: Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah, Kirsten Smith
Cast: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner, Eric Winter, Nick Searcy, Jesse D. Goins, Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins, Yvette Nicole Brown
Seen on: 21.1.2018
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Plot:
Abby (Katherine Heigl) is a producer of a morning show. Due to faltering ratings of said show, her boss hires Mike (Gerard Butler), whose claim to fame is hosting The Ugly Truth, a show that tackles matters of relationships in a very male, if not misogynistic way. Abby is outraged at this choice of host. But since she herself doesn’t do very well in matters of relationships either, pining after her neighbor Colin (Eric Winter) who she thinks of as the perfect man, she strikes a deal with Mike at his suggestion: he will help her reel in Colin, and she will work with him.

The Ugly Truth is absolutely horrible. It bowled me over with its hatred masquerading as some good old fun. It’s sexist and misogynistic. It’s so bad, it even makes a case that misandry does, in fact, exist. I hated it.

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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Director: Donald Petrie
Writer: Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan, Burr Steers
Based on: Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long’s comic
Cast: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Parisse, Adam Goldberg, Thomas Lennon, Michael Michele, Shalom Harlow, Robert Klein
Seen on: 21.1.2018
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Plot:
Andie (Kate Hudson) writes a How to-column for a magazine and she’s in need of a new idea, especially since she wants to write something of more substance. She may get the chance to do so if she writes a column on how to lose a guy in 10 days. Meanwhile ad executive Ben (Matthew McConaughey) has to prove that he knows what women want. He proposes a bet, promising to make any woman fall in love with him. His colleagues accept – and point to Andie as the object of his plot. As they both work towards opposite goals, their dates are quite tumultuous.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was suprisingly charming and didn’t veer into the condescending romantic direction that movies about covert bets usually do. It’s not a revolutionary film, but I enjoyed it.

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Silver Silence (Nalini Singh)

Silver Silence is the first novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series (or the 16th novel of the Psy-Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 21.1.2018
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the Psy-Changeling series.]

Plot:
Psy, changelings and humans have come together under the Trinity Accords. The peace and cooperation treaty is still in its infancy, but Silver Mercant plays a central part as the coordinator of a joint emergency response network. That’s exactly why somebody tries to kill her. It’s only due to chance (and his growing obsession with her) that Valentin, alpha of the bear changelings, catches wind of the attempt. He knows that Silver needs a place to lie low and he can give it to her. And maybe he can give her even more.

Silver Silence is the start of a new story arc of the Psy-Changeling books – officially the start of Season 2. Having followed the series from the beginning, I can’t say that I feel much of a break between Season 1 and Season 2, but that doesn’t matter because it achieves again what I’ve come to expect and love from the series.

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Re-Watch: Miss Congeniality (2000)

Miss Congeniality
Director: Donald Petrie
Writer: Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford, Caryn Lucas
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, John DiResta, Steve Monroe, Heather Burns, Melissa De Sousa
Seen on: 19.1.2018
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Plot:
Gracie (Sandra Bullock) has always be a tomboy and feels more than comfortable in the guys’ club that is the FBI. But when there’s a threat that somebody wants to bomb the Miss USA pageant, her partner Eric (Benjamin Bratt) finds that Gracie really is the only FBI agent who could pull off going undercover as a contestant. She just needs a bit of refinement which shall be provided by old Miss USA coach Victor (Michael Caine). Gracie is not happy about it at all, but she’ll go through with it, causing a lot of confusion in the pageant with every step she takes.

When I saw the film the last time, probably around 10-15 years ago, I was still able to laugh about Miss Congeniality. But the film, unfortunately, didn’t age well.

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