Endzeit [Ever After] (2018)

Endzeit
Director: Carolina Hellsgård
Writer: Olivia Vieweg
Based on: her own graphic novel
Cast: Gro Swantje Kohlhof, Maja Lehrer, Trine Dyrholm, Barbara Philipp, Yûho Yamashita, Marco Albrecht
Part of: Toronto International Film Fesitval
Seen on: 7.9.2018

Plot:
Germany has been infected by a virus that turned most of its population into zombies. There are only small pockets of humanity left in Weimar and in Jena. Vivi (Gro Swantje Kohlhof) and Eva (Maja Lehrer) are both in Weimar. They don’t really know each other and couldn’t be more different: Vivi seems barely equipped to survive a zombie world, she is so sensitive, while Eva is all toughness. But they both have the same goal: make it to Jena where they are working on a cure and find a better life there.

Endzeit sounds like exactly my kind of thing: a (German) zombie movie by and about women. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work for me, despite some very interesting takes and ideas.

The film poster showing Gro Swantje Kohlhof running away from a zombie horde.
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Rafiki (2018)

Rafiki (literally: friend)
Director: Wanuri Kahiu
Writer: Wanuri Kahiu
Based on: Monica Arac de Nyeko‘s short story Jambula Tree
Cast: Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva, Neville Misati, Nice Githinji, Muthoni Gathecha, Vitalis Waweru, Jimmy Gathu, Dennis Musyoka
Part of: Toronto International Film Festival
Seen on: 6.9.2018

Content Note: homomisia

Plot:
Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) spends most of her time hanging out with her friend Blacksta (Neville Misati) or working in her father’s (Jimmy Gathu) shop. Her father is currently running for a council seat, as is Ziki’s (Sheila Munyiva) father (Dennis Musyoka). But Kena finds Ziki very intriguing and the two women become close very quickly. As love grows between them, they have to face the fact that society around them doesn’t accept homosexuality.

Rafiki is a sweet and powerful film with a very interesting setting. The political situation around the film adds another layer and makes it even more worth seeing.

The film poster shwoing Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva.
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Lost and Delirious (2001)

Lost and Delirious
Director: Léa Pool
Writer: Judith Thompson
Based on: Susan Swan‘s novel The Wives of Bath
Cast: Piper Perabo, Jessica Paré, Mischa Barton, Jackie Burroughs, Mimi Kuzyk, Graham Greene, Emily VanCamp, Amy Stewart, Caroline Dhavernas
Seen on: 7.9.2018

Plot:
14-year-old Mary (Mischa Barton) just arrived at a presitigous boarding school. She is shy and adjusting to her new surroundings isn’t easy. Fortunately she has two roommates, seniors Paulie (Piper Perabo) and Tori (Jessica Paré). The two take Mary under their wings. Mary soon realizes that Paulie and Tori aren’t just best friends, they are actually lovers. But when the knowledge spreads around school, all of their lives get knocked off-balance.

Lost and Delirious works hard but that doesn’t always translate to success, unfortunately. It does have some good moments, but overall it doesn’t really come together.

The film poster showing Mischa Barton, Jessica Paré and Piper Perabo lounging on a bed.
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Christopher Robin (2018)

Christopher Robin
Director: Marc Forster
Writer: Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Schroeder, Greg Brooker, Mark Steven Johnson
Based on: A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard‘s characters
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss, Oliver Ford Davies, Ronke Adekoluejo, Adrian Scarborough, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Ken Nwosu, John Dagleish, Amanda Lawrence, Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Sara Sheen, Toby Jones
Seen on: 5.9.2018

Plot:
Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is all grown up. He has a wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), and a daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). But above all, he has a job that keeps him very, very busy. Right now, the company he works for needs to lay people off and Christopher has one weekend to figure out who to fire. So when his childhood friend and teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh (Jim Cummings) suddenly appears and asks him to come back to the 100-acre-wood, it couldn’t come at a worse time. It’s time for Christopher to get his priorities straight.

Christopher Robin is a film on a mission and with a message, everything else takes a backseat to that. But in the end it gets tied up so much in its message that it manages to completely undermine it.

The film poster showing Ewan McGregor with Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore.
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Kin (2018)

Kin
Director: Jonathan Baker, Josh Baker
Writer: Daniel Casey
Based on: the Bakers’ short film Bag Man
Cast: Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor, Dennis Quaid, Zoë Kravitz, James Franco, Carrie Coon, Ian Matthews, Gavin Fox, Stephane Garneau-Monten, Lukas Penar, Carleigh Beverly
Seen on: 5.9.2018

Plot:
Jimmy (Jack Reynor) was just released from prison and comes home to his father Hal (Dennis Quaid) and his adoptive brother Eli (Myles Truitt). Things are tense between Jimmy and Hal. Meanwhile Eli sticks to his routine of scavenging in abandoned buildings, looking for copper. Instead he finds dead bodies and a mysterious weapon. That weapon might be just the thing that could help Jimmy settle old debts with his former employer. But Eli isn’t the only one who knows that it exists.

Kin is a confused film that doesn’t really know what it wants to say. Despite a couple of good things, it ultimately doesn’t convince.

The film poster showing Zoe Kravitz, Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor and James Franco over a weapon and two masked people.
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Mistress of the Solstice (Anna Kashina)

Mistress of the Solstice is a novel by Anna Kashina.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 4.9.2018

Plot:
Marya is the Mistress of the Solstice, the high priestess of their cult. Her most important task is to perform the annual sacrifice of a virgin to Marya’s father, the immortal tsar Kashchey. This sacrifice is necessary to keep their kingdom save and prosperous. But then Ivan shows up, Ivan the Fool, youngest prince of a neighboring kingdom. Ivan is on a quest to kill Kashchey and get rid off the sacrifices once and for all. He is not the first to try. But when Marya and Ivan meet, they are both knocked off course.

I really enjoyed reading Mistress of the Solstice. It’s well-written and imaginative and really profits off the setting that draws on Russian folklore.

The book cover showing the drawing of a woman dressed in white with a flower crown in a forest.
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Immunity to Strange Tales (Susan Forest)

Immunity to Strange Tales is a short story collection by Susan Forest.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 1.9.2018

Immunity to Strange Tales is a good collection of very different stories. Not all of them worked equally well for me, but it does have a few really strong ones. And since the stories are so varied, it’s pretty easy to find something to your taste. I really enjoyed it.

The book cover showing a cat with strange eyes in front of a moon.

More about each of the stories after the jump.

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Searching (2018)

Searching
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Writer: Aneesh Chaganty, Sev Ohanian
Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Sara Sohn, Alex Jayne Go, Megan Liu, Kya Dawn Lau, Michelle La, Joseph Lee, Dominic Hoffman
Seen on: 1.9.2018

Plot:
Single dad David (John Cho) doesn’t know much about his daughter Margot’s (Michelle La) life. That becomes absolutely clear to him when she goes missing and he starts to look for her by going through everything on her laptop that could point him in any direction, while police detective Vick (Debra Messing) does everything on the official side. But with every hour that passes, the chances of finding Margot alive dwindle more.

Searching has two things going for it: the gimmick that it tells its story entirely via computer screens and everything that can be seen there and John Cho. The former works for some, but not all of the film, the latter is simply amazing.

The film poster showing John Cho looking at a smart phone.
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Eighth Grade (2018)

Eighth Grade
Director: Bo Burnham
Writer: Bo Burnham
Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Daniel Zolghadri, Fred Hechinger, Imani Lewis, Luke Prael, Catherine Oliviere
Seen on: 31.8.2018

Plot:
Eight-grader Kayla (Elsie Fisher) spends most of her time making YouTube videos where she dispenses advice on pretty much everything to pretty much no-one. In her videos, she talks about being confident, whereas in school she is so shy and speaks so little, she wins the award for being the most quiet student – much to her mortification. Middle school nears its end and Kayla is determined that things shall be different in high school. When she meets high schooler Olivia (Emily Robinson) and hits it off with her, she feels like she almost made it. But the transition isn’t so easy. Growing up isn’t so easy.

Eighth Grade is a thoroughly charming film and one of the most accurate portrayals of (early) puberty and its struggles that I have seen. Far removed from the glossy 25-year-olds who play teens and constantly talk about sex, Eighth Grade is much closer to reality – and that’s pretty lovely, even when it isn’t lovely at all.

The film poster showing Elsie Fisher as she takes a selfie.
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Tritcheon Hash (Sue Lange)

Tritcheon Hash is a novel by Sue Lange.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 27.8.2018

Plot:
Tritcheon Hash lives on the planet of Coney Island. Coney Island is home to only women: after all the male violence on Earth, the women just up and left. Now men and women only see each other once a year at the sperm against male babies exchange. Things have been going smoothly for a while and talk of reunification have been stirring. But since Earth is covered in a cloud of pollution, making satellite observation impossible, Coney Island needs to send a spy there in person to see if the men are ready again. The chosen spy is Tritcheon who leaves her wife and kids behind to take on the mission – which reconnects her to her own past.

I think that Tritcheon Hash thinks that it’s making some kind of feminist point but that point completely backfires. And narratively it didn’t blow me away, either.

The book cover showing a drawn woman in a kind of space suit.
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