Mon bébé [Sweetheart] (2019)

Mon bébé
Director: Lisa Azuelos
Writer: Lisa Azuelos, Thierry Teston, Thaïs Alessandrin
Cast: Sandrine Kiberlain, Thaïs Alessandrin, Victor Belmondo, Mickaël Lumière, Camille Claris, Kyan Khojandi, Arnaud Valois, Patrick Chesnais, Yvan Attal
Seen on: 30.7.2019

Héloïse (Sandrine Kiberlain) has been doing things on her own for a while and she managed to raise three children as a single mom, and owns a restaurant to boot. It’s been a stressful life, but one she loved. Now her youngest daughter Jade (Thaïs Alessandrin) is about to fly the coop: She is preparing to go to Canada to study. As the date of her departure draws nearer, it throws Héloïse into an existential crisis that makes saying goodbye for both of them even harder.

Mon bébé is an entertaining portrait of a mother-daughter relationship. It’s a good watch, but it didn’t completely wow me.

The film poster showing Héloïse (Sandrine Kiberlain) hugging her daughter Jade (Thaïs Alessandrin), both with big smiles on their faces.
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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Director: David Slade
Writer: Charlie Brooker
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Craig Parkinson, Alice Lowe, Asim Chaudhry, Will Poulter, Tallulah Haddon, Catriona Knox, Paul Michael Bradley, Jonathan Aris, A.J. Houghton, Fleur Keith, Laura Evelyn, Alan Asaad
Seen on: 28.7.2019

Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) is working on a computer game, an adaptation of the Choose Your Own Adventure novel Bandersnatch, a cult classic. It’s difficult to adapt, but Stefan can convince the people at Tuckersoft to consider releasing it. Tuckersoft is run by Mohan Thakur (Asim Chaudhry) but it’s most famous employee is Colin (Will Poulter). How things go from there depend entirely on what decisions are being made.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a Choose Your Own Adventure film that is very cleverly made. The format here is definitely more important than the story, and so it is that, despite some cool meta stuff, the story falls a little flat. But the format works very well.

The film poster showing a profile shot of Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), white waves moving inward (or outward) over his head.
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Saga – Volume 2 (Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples)

Saga is a comic series by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. Volume 2 collects the issues 7-12.
Finished on: 28.7.2019
[Here’s my review of the first volume.]

Marko and Alana are still on the run with their baby Hazel, when they are unexpectedly joined by none other than Marko’s parents. They are at least as critical of Marko’s liaison with a woman from Landfall as the rest of the universe seems to be, but they also won’t just give up their grandchild. So they make their way together towards the writer who inspired Alana and Marko to give their love a chance in the first place.

The second Volume of Saga manages to keep up the already high quality of the first volume while expanding the world and upping the stakes. It is simply excellent.

The cover image showing Marko, a horned man, covered in blood.
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Yesterday (2019)

Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Richard Curtis, Jack Barth
Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino, Ellise Chappell, Meera Syal, Harry Michell, Vincent Franklin, Joel Fry, Kate McKinnon, Michael Kiwanuka, Ed Sheeran, James Corden
Seen on: 24.7.2019

Jack (Himesh Patel) is a musician, albeit not a very successful one. His biggest supporter is his best friend and manager Ellie (Lily James), but she, too, can’t make fame just appear. One night, when Jack is about ready to give it all up, he is hit by a bus. When he regains consciousness, things seem unchanged at first – until Jack realizes that he is the only one who remembers The Beatles. It seems, they never existed. But Jack still remembers their songs – and pretending they are his is his ticket to the career he always wanted.

Yesterday is sweet enough as a film, albeit nothing much to write home about. Still, with a charmer like Patel in the lead and bolstered by The Beatles’ music, it is definitely entertaining.

The film poster showing Jack (Himesh Patel), a guitar strapped to his back, walking across a crosswalk like the famous Abbey Road Beatles album cover.
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Scar (Alice Broadway)

Scar is the final novel in the Skin Books trilogy by Alice Broadway.
Finished on: 23.7.2019
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the trilogy.]

Leora has returned from Featherstone to Saintstone, only to find herself captured by Mayor Longsight. As the rift between the two villages and communities grows ever bigger, Leora becomes a symbol for both of them, while desperately trying to keep either from inflicting any more damage on each other. And she should also protect the people she loves and who love her – even if she isn’t too sure who that may be.

Scar is a nice finish to the trilogy, even if it felt a little hurried. It may be the weakest of the three novels, but it works.

The book cover that is covered in purple tattoo-like markings, showing two birds, a snake, a fox, butterflies and a girl in white instead of red, stretching her arm toward one of the birds.
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Re-Watch: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Sense and Sensibility
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: Emma Thompson [here’s my review of her screenplay and production diaries]
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Gemma Jones, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Greg Wise, Emilie François, James Fleet, Tom Wilkinson, Harriet Walter, Imelda Staunton, Imogen Stubbs, Hugh Laurie, Robert Hardy, Elizabeth Spriggs
Seen on: 20.7.2019

Sisters Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet) couldn’t be any more different. Elinor is always calm, collected and responsible, while Marianne is passionate and impulsive. It is no surprise that they find very different men to like as well – Elinor falling for Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and Marianne for Willoughby (Greg Wise). But whether they will be lucky with their loves is another question entirely.

I am honestly surprised that I never reviewed this film here on this blog so far – I am sure I have watched it several times since I started this blog. Be that as it may, it is one of my favorite films and I don’t know how many times I saw it already. But I love it every time I watch it again and this time is no different.

The film poster showing Marianne (Kate Winslet) in one image as she laughs, and Elinor (Emma Thompson) in another image, smiling softly.
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Sense and Sensibility the Screenplay and Diaries (Emma Thompson)

Sense and Sensibility the Screenplay and Diaries collects Emma Thompson‘s screenplay for the 1995 film, adapted from Jane Austen’s novel, as well as Thompson’s diaries for the production of the film.
Finished on: 20.7.2019

I really love the film (I’m rather surprised that I never reviewed it here), so when I heard that the script was published, and that there was even additional material in the form of Thompson’s diaries for the production, I knew I had to track it down. And I’m absolutely glad I did. The script itself is an extremely nice read, but the real treat are the diaries – a warm look behind the scenes with a wonderful sense of humor.

The book cover showing two stills from the film, Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood and Emma Thompson herself as Elinor Dashwood.
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Spark (Alice Broadway)

Spark is the second novel in the Skin Books trilogy by Alice Broadway.
Finished on: 18.7.2019
[Here’s my review of the first book.]

After the recent revelations about her world and herself, Leora is questioning everything. It appears that everything she ever knew is wrong. Saintstone’s Mayor Longsight hopes to use Leora to spy on the blanks in Featherstone, but Leora is not so sure that she can do it. Or that she should. But she can’t really say no, either. And so she leaves the only town she ever knew to try to learn more.

Spark is a really good sequel, a quick read that kept me engaged and gives Leora space to grow in a very understandable way. I liked it.

The book cover that is covered in red tattoo-like markings, showing, among other things, a bird, a squirrel, a feather and a girl in white instead of red, stretching her arm toward the bird.
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Saga – Volume 1 (Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples)

Saga is a comic series by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. Volume 1 collects the issues 1-6.
Finished on: 15.7.2019

Landfall has been at war with its own moon Wreath for about forever and their war has spread out over the galaxy. In the middle of this war, there are Alanna, from Landfall, and Marko, from Wreath. They are in love. They just had a baby – a baby that no one with any say wants to see alive as it calls the entire war into question. But Alana and Marko are soldiers and they are good at their job. They are not about to give up that easily. Soon the entire galaxy seems to be at their heel.

Saga is absolutely excellent: wonderful worldbuilding, great characters, beautiful art. I am very intrigued and really need to know how things continue now.

The cover of the comic showing a woman with wings cradling a baby, hugged by a man with horns.
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Tolkien (2019)

Director: Dome Karukoski
Writer: David Gleeson, Stephen Beresford
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Patrick Gibson, Anthony Boyle, Tom Glynn-Carney, Craig Roberts, Harry Gilby, Albie Marber, Ty Tennant, Adam Bregman, Mimi Keene, Colm Meaney, Laura Donnelly, Derek Jacobi
Seen on: 15.7.2019

John R. R. Tolkien (Harry Gilby) grows up poor and his mother (Laura Donnelly) dies early, so he and his brother get placed into foster care by Father Francis (Colm Meaney). They end up with a rich older woman who also fosters Edith (Mimi Keene) and John and Edith become good friends. The foster place also gives John the chance to attend a prestigious school where he shows great promise and becomes fast friends with Robert (Albie Marber), Christopher (Ty Tennant) and Geoffrey (Adam Bregman). Even after they grow up and attend different universities, John (Nicholas Hoult) remains friends with them (Patrick Gibson, Anthony Boyle, Tom Glynn-Carney). But World War I changes their plans.

Tolkien suffers from a very, very bad script that gives us no real insight into who Tolkien may have been, or even tells its story in a competent manner.

The film poster showing J. R. R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult). Superimposed over his chest are two warriors fighting on horseback.
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