Die verwechselten Töchter (Maria Anna Sager)

Die verwechselten Töchter [literally: The Exchanged Daughters] is an epistolary novel by Maria Anna Sager (also written as Maria Anna Sagar).
Finished on: 26.4.2019
[You can read it here in German.]

In a rather poor neighborhood, two girls are born at almost exactly the same time, and both are called Klara. Their mothers are fast friends, and the two girls grow up inseparable and often indistinguishable. When the mother of the older Klara is called away by circumstances to acquire a more affluent position, both Klaras remain with the mother of the younger Klara. When the older Klara’s mother calls for her daughter a few years later, the younger Klara’s mother hopes to find a better life for her daughter and sends the younger Klara in the older Klara’s stead – a decision that causes troubles for all of them.

Die verwechselten Töchter is an almost forgotten classic of Austrian literature, one of the first (epistolary) novels by a woman to be published at all in German. And it is still a very good read that I can absolutely recommend.

The book cover showing the mirrored silhouette of a woman with a fancy hairdo.
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Someone Great (2019)

Someone Great
Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Writer: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Cast: Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, DeWanda Wise, LaKeith Stanfield, Michelle Buteau, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Alex Moffat, Joe LoCicero, Rosario Dawson, RuPaul, Questlove, Jessie Reyez
Seen on: 24.4.2019

Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) just got her dream job as a music journalist. Unfortunately that means that she has to move from New York to San Francisco. Her boyfriend of many years Nate (LaKeith Stanfield) decides against a long distance relationshop and breaks up with her instead, leaving Jenny reeling. Fortunately she has her best friends Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow) to pick her up. They decide to go for a last night of partying together before Jenny has to move.

Considering that there really aren’t enough movies about women being friends (if you ask me), I was really looking forward to Someone Great. Unfortunately it was a little too much a party film and that just isn’t my cup of tea. I ended up wanting to like the film much more than I actually did.

The film poster showing Jenny (Gina Rodriguez), Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow) lying down with their heads close together.
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The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

The Kid Who Would Be King
Director: Joe Cornish
Writer: Joe Cornish
Cast: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Noma Dumezweni, Rebecca Ferguson, Mark Bonnar, Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart
Seen on: 24.4.2019

When Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) steps in when his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) is being bullied, the two bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris) don’t take too kindly to it. That night, they chase Alex on his way home, but Alex hides in a construction site where he finds a sword embedded in the stone. He pulls it out – and realizes that it is actually Excalibur. Along with Excalibut comes Merlin (Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart) and a threat in the form of Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson). It is up to Alex and his friends to stop her.

I have rarely seen a film get a cinematic release that was talked about so little as The Kid Who Would Be King. And I honestly don’t get it. It is a cute family film, it has famous people and it is very entertaining. By rights, it should have been easy to advertise and easier still to be a success. So, take it from me and have fun with this one!

The film poster showing Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) in armor, with a big sword strapped to his back.
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Die Kinder der Toten [The Children of the Dead] (2019)

Die Kinder der Toten
Director: Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska (aka Nature Theater of Oklahoma)
Writer: Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
Based on: Elfriede Jelinek‘s novel
Cast: Andrea Maier, Greta Kostka, Klaus Unterrieder, Georg Beyer, Lukas Eigl, Tamara Pregernigg, Renate Stoppacher-Rainer, Jula Zangger
Seen on: 23.4.2019

In the hotel Alpenrose in Styria, everything seems to be alright. Travelers Karin (Andrea Maier) and her mother (Greta Kostka) are enjoying their evening at least. But shortly after Karin dies in an accident. Only she isn’t really dead. And she isn’t the only undead around: when a Nazi widow (Renate Stoppacher-Rainer) starts an underground cinema that shows movies that celebrate the fascist past, it draws zombies to the area.

Die Kinder der Toten is incredibly absurd. While I may not have liked everything about it, I really enjoyed it. And I definitely haven’t seen something as strange in a long time.

The film poster showing the mother (Greta Kostka) leaning over the body of her daughter Karin (Andrea Maier) next to a car wreck. The entire image is in inverted colors.
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Eddie Izzard: Wunderbar

Eddie Izzard came to Vienna for another show, this time with her Wunderbar program.
Seen on: 17.4.2019
[Here’s my review of her Force majeur program.]

I love Eddie Izzard and her Wunderbar program really was wonderful. It is more personal than earlier programs, I feel, and also increasingly absurd – and I liked both those developments. What a beautiful and funny night.

The tour poster showing Eddie Izzard standing over the word "Wunderbar", her hand on her belly.
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The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

The Curse of La Llorona
Director: Michael Chaves
Writer: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
Cast: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tony Amendola
Seen on: 17.4.2019

Content Note: racism

After being called to the home of one of her clients, social worker Anna (Linda Cardellini) finds the mother (Patricia Velasquez) in a very anxious state. She has locked her children in a closet and rambles something about hearing the sounds of a crying woman. Anna bringst the children to the hospital, but a short while later they are found drowned in the river. And whatever was after the children in the first place is now coming for Anna’s kids.

I hadn’t planned on seeing La Llorona, but then I had some time to kill and it was playing and I thought, yeah, why the hell not. And it was okay to watch, but if I hadn’t gotten around to seeing it, that would have been perfectly fine, too.

The film poster showing La llorona (Marisol Ramirez) holdin hands with two children at the edge of the lake. Reflected in the lake we can see her screaming and the children floating next to her.
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Pet Sematary (2019)

Pet Sematary
Director: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
Writer: Matt Greenberg, Jeff Buhler
Based on: Stephen King‘s novel
Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Obssa Ahmed, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Maria Herrera
Seen on: 16.4.2019

Content Note: racism, ableism

Louis (Jason Clarke), Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two children Gage (Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie) and Ellie (Jeté Laurence) move to the countryside, hoping to find a calmer life there. What Louis finds instead is an old pet cemetery in the woods behind their house. A cemetery he has soon use for when the family cat Church is hit by a truck. His neighbor Jud (John Lithgow) advises him to bury the cat there, introducing Louis to the power that is buried there.

Pet Sematary is an okay film that profits from the fact that I saw it right after Hellboy and compared to that film, it was fanfuckingtastic. But it definitely would have profited even more if they had updated the story in certain (racist, ableist) regards.

The film poster showing a drawing of a cat. In the cat shape we can see the faces of the main characters. Below them are several cemetery crosses and children.
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Hellboy (2019)

Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Andrew Cosby
Based on: Mike Mignola‘s character
Cast: David Harbour, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane, Mark Stanley, Brian Gleeson, Milla Jovovich, Penelope Mitchell, Ian McShane, Mario de la Rosa, Sophie Okonedo, Thomas Haden Church, Kristina Klebe, Stephen Graham
Seen on: 16.4.2019

Content Note: misogyny, lookism

Hellboy (David Harbour) works at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence together with his adoptive father, Professor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane). After a mission that did not go the way it was supposed to and that ends with Hellboy having to kill his partner and hearing that even worse is to come for him, he is not in a good place – and then he finds himself double-crossed to boot. And that’s not even the threat he was warned about. Teaming up with his colleagues Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) and Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), Hellboy has to face an ancient evil witch to stop the end of the world.

I really should have listened to the critics that seemed to unanimously pan this film, because, by god, it was so very bad. A waste of pretty much everything that went into the film.

The film poster showing Hellboy (David Harbour) in full-horned glory standing in flames, holding a sword.
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The Perfect Date (2019)

The Perfect Date
Director: Chris Nelson
Writer: Steve Bloom, Randall Green
Based on: Steve Bloom’s novel The Stand-In
Cast: Noah Centineo, Laura Marano, Odiseas Georgiadis, Camila Mendes, Matt Walsh, Joe Chrest, Carrie Lazar
Seen on: 13.4.2019

Brooks (Noah Centineo) is hoping to get into the university of his dreams – and that costs money. Fortunately for Brooks an opportunity arises for him in the form of Celia (Laura Marano) who is in need of a date and willing to pay cash. Brooks accepts and on his fake date with Celia, he meets Shelby (Camila Mendes) and falls for her head over heels. Brooks decides to make the fakedating a business, turning into a date for hire, becoming whatever the girls who hire him need him to be. At the same time, he and Celia hatch a plan to win Shelby over and get Celia the guy of her dreams as well by making both of them jealous. But of course, things get complicated.

The Perfect Date is exactly what you’d expect it to be, a super-fluffy, super-light, super-predictable RomCom. If you’re looking for a bit of comfortable romance, it will give you what you want.

The film poster showing Brooks (Noah Centineo) with various accessories behind him to choose from.
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Unicorn Store (2017)

Unicorn Store
Director: Brie Larson
Writer: Samantha McIntyre
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, Bradley Whitford, Mamoudou Athie, Hamish Linklater, Martha MacIsaac, Karan Soni, Annaleigh Ashford, Ryan Hansen, Mary Holland
Seen on: 13.4.2019

Kit (Brie Larson) is in her 20s, but would rather dream of rainbows and unicorns than grow up. She thought she could do just that in art school, but when she gets kicked out there, she has to return home to her parents (Joan Cusack, Bradley Whitford) and figure out what other options she may have. While she is doing that, she starts working as a temp in a rather boring office. Just when Kit is about to give up on her dreams, she meets the Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson). He promises to fulfill her biggest wish: should she prove to be worthy, she can have a unicorn all of her own.

Unicorn Store is very twee – with that plot it would be hard to be anything else. Your appreciation of it will probably depend on how much you like this tweeness. I quite liked and enjoyed the film, although I’m not exactly falling over myself in enthusiasm.

The film poster showing Kit (Brie Larson) lying on grass in a rainbow sweater covered in colorful paint.
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