Pirmdzimtais [Firstborn] (2017)

Pirmdzimtais
Director: Aik Karapetian
Writer: Aik Karapetian
Cast: Maija Doveika, Kaspars Znotins, Dainis Grube, Kaspars Zale
Seen on: 28.6.2019
[Screener Review.]

Plot:
Katrina (Maija Doveika) and Francis (Kaspars Znotins) have been a couple for a while and things can be a little tense between them. When they are assaulted by a biker (Kaspars Zale), they are both pretty shellshocked. Katrina turns to a police officer for help, leaving Francis feeling inadequate: he couldn’t stop the assault in the first place and now he isn’t even good enough to help afterwards. Determined to prove his worth, he seeks out the biker himself, but their confrontation goes differently than planned.

Firstborn has a strong first half, but then lost me in the second half, unfortunately, when it becomes muddled, confusing and a little boring. But there’s a lot of material for thought about masculinity in the film, so that’s something.

The film poster showing Maija Doveika and Kaspars Znotins.
Continue reading

No Man of Woman Born (Ana Mardoll)

No Man of Woman Born is a short story collection by Ana Mardoll.
Finished on: 6.6.2019

The short stories in this collection all revolve around the observation how easy it is to be “no man of woman born” when you stop thinking of gender in the binary or as something set at birth. Every story is another interpretation of it, another subversion of this old prophecy. It’s a beautiful, entertaining collection and a crash course in getting used to neopronouns.

The book cover showing a woman clutching a giant sword.
Read More about each of the Stories

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Director: Michael Dougherty
Writer: Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
Sequel to: Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island
Cast: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Anthony Ramos, Elizabeth Faith Ludlow
Seen on: 4.6.2019

Plot:
Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) is a scientist working on a bio-acoustics device that is supposed to communicate and calm creatures like Godzilla. She has been testing it on a moth larva in China and it seems to work pretty well. Her research doesn’t go unnoticed, and so Emma finds herself and her daughter Maddie (Millie Bobby Brown) taken, and her device used to wake all giant creatures instead of calming them.

Just to be very clear: kaiju films are not my thing and I didn’t particularly enjoy the first Godzilla, nor Kong. But I agreed to see this one for my friend and for Vera Farmiga. But it didn’t come as a surprise to me that I didn’t actually like this one either (my friend, who generally likes kaijus did, though, so it probably is a good kaiju movie anyway).

The film poster showing Godzilla, a shaft of light coming from its screaming mouth. Its surrounded by helicopters and ships.
Continue reading

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writer: Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams
Sequel to: John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Tobias Segal, Anjelica Huston, Saïd Taghmaoui
Seen on: 3.6.2019

Plot:
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is in deep, deep trouble. He has been ousted from the society of assassins, forfeiting any protection they can offer. Instead there is a bounty on his head, and everybody from the assassin’s guild is after him to cash in on it. He has had a very small grace perios before the hunt starts, but his only real chance is to get out of the city and disappear.

I have been a huge fan of the first two installments of this series, and the third one manages to continue with it in the same high quality, making me itching for Chapter 4 (presumably the last one).

The film poster showing John Wick (Keanu Reeves) standing in the rain with a bruised face and a gun in his hand.
Continue reading

Bite Me (2019)

Bite Me
Director: Meredith Edwards
Writer: Naomi McDougall Jones
Cast: Naomi McDougall Jones, Christian Coulson, Annie Golden, Naomi Grossman, Harold Surratt, Mahira Kakkar, Cynthia Mace, Katherine Kahrs, Aurelio Voltaire
Seen on: 2.6.2019

Plot:
Sarah (Naomi McDougall Jones) is part of a vampire group who believe that they need to feed on energy and/or drink blood to stay healthy. Officially, their group is registered as a church, and thus they are subject to tax audits. James (Christian Coulson) is the IRS agent assigned the task. As he tries to figure out whether the vampires actually are a church, James finds himself drawn to Sarah despite their polar opposite appearances – and vice versa.

Bite Me is an absolutely charming indie comedy that was emotionally engaging, fun and off-beat – embracing weirdness instead of tacking it on as a quirk. I really enjoyed it.

The film poster showing James (Christian Coulson) and Sarah (Naomi McDougall Jones) looking at each other. Below them are vampire teeth with a red heart painted on them.
Continue reading

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Always Be My Maybe
Director: Nahnatchka Khan
Writer: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Michael Golamco
Cast: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang, Keanu Reeves, Susan Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Karan Soni, Charlyne Yi, Lyrics Born, Casey Wilson
Seen on: 1.6.2019

Plot:
When Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) were kids, they were neighbors and best friends. It seemed like fate that they should fall in love as well, but they had a falling out instead and haven’t spoken in 15 years. After becoming a celebrity chef, Sasha has returns to San Francisco to open a new restaurant, after agreeing on a break from her fiancé Brandon (Daniel Dae Kim) – and runs into Marcus who seems not to have changed at all. The two carefully reconnect and have to ask themselves whether old wounds or old attractions still have a hold on the present.

Always Be My Maybe is sweet and fun, but I didn’t connect emotionally to it that much. Still, it’s very watchable.

The film poster showing Marcus (Randall Park) and Sasha (Ali Wong) standing with some distance between them, but their hands casually reaching for each other.
Continue reading