Content Note: child abuse/pedophilia, stalking (not in the main couple)
Plot: Actress Kit and guitar player Noah used to be really close and there was definitely sexual tension brewing between them. But before anything more could happen, Kit walked in on Noah sleeping with one of the band’s groupies – and they both knew he wanted her to find him like this. Any trust between them was destroyed and Kit’s heart thoroughly broken. Then one night, she receives a call from Noah and he is not in a good place at all. Despite her own worries – she has a stalker – she picks Noah up from a sketchy motel super drunk and this close to doing hard drugs. Looking at all the pieces of their relationship so far, Kit and Noah decide to try to rebuild their friendship, hard as it may be to navigate all the hurt.
Rock Redemption is the usual quick, engaging read I have come to expect from Singh, though it follows the normal structure of her stories a little less than usual. I had no problem with that, but I did struggle a little with Noah and his pain.
Plot: Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi) is over 30 years old and about to finish his PhD. For his family this means one thing: he really needs to get married. Tradition demands that he marries a young virgin and so they have brought him to girl after girl, but Zaza never found the right one among them. The truth is, Zaza doesn’t want any of the girls his parents find for him because he is already very much in love with Judith (Ronit Elkabetz). But Judith is divorced and has a child already – Zaza’s family could never accept that and things are bound to come to a head soon.
Hatuna Meuheret is an engaging, but also somehow unsatisfying film .I appreciated it, but I didn’t like it very much.
Plot: Ifemelu and Obinze fell in love in high school in Nigeria. But after Ifemelu left to go to college in the USA, they fell out of touch. Fifteen years later, Ifemelu is ready to return home, despite the fact that she has a successful blog about race relations in the USA, a settled life and a nice boyfriend. As she prepares for her return, she also reconnects with Obinze who spent some time in the UK and has since become a rich man in Nigeria.
Americanah is an interesting novel with sharp observations that I nevertheless struggled with. It is definitely insightful about race, but the story just didn’t come together for me.
Plot: Tiger Mafia have been kidnapping children at the behest of Mr. Big (Mukiibi Alex). When they kidnap the daughter Diana (Kirabo Beatrice) of the greatest commando (Bisaso Dauda) just as he returns home, it seems at first that they have bitten off more than they can chew. But in the end, Tiger Mafia succeeds and the commando turns crazy. But when another father (Wephukulu Anthony) stumbles upon him as he tries to chase after his son Kido (Isaac Newton Kizito) who has been kidnapped as well, the two fathers team up to save their children. Not that they need much saving, given that their kids are proficient martial artists themselves.
I haven’t seen many Wakaliwood movies so far (Who Killed Captain Alex? and Bad Black), but those I have seen have been utterly delightful in the anarchist way they pay hommage to action movies. Ani Mulalu? The Crazy World is another case in point. As long as you don’t expect the films to adhere to Western storytelling standards, you’ll have the time of your life.
Plot: Olivia (Lucy Hale) lets herself get dragged along on spring break to Mexico by Markie (Violett Beane), her best friend, who insists that they have one last bash together with their friends before university is over. Olivia had other plans, but she finds that she does enjoy herself, especially when she meets Carter (Landon Liboiron). Looking for a new thrill, Carter suggests to the group that they could all head to a special place: ruins of a monastery. Once there, they start to play Truth or Dare. But even when they leave and say that they want to quit playing, the game has other ideas – and the stakes grow ever higher.
I didn’t expect much of Truth or Dare (I mostly watched for Lucy Hale), but even so what I got was pretty underwhelming. It’s just generally a meh kind of film.
Plot: A long time after a terrible infection wiped out humanity, a robot takes on its role as Mother (voiced by Rose Byrne) to one child. Daughter (Clara Rugaard) grows up under Mother’s watchful eye, learning about the world in theory, getting tested to see whether Mother’s upbringing is actually fine before bringing more children into the world and repopulating Earth once more. But before the final exam, there is a banging on the door and a Woman (Hilary Swank) finds her way into the facility where Daughter and Mother have lived an unbothered existence so far. And with her arrival, Daughter’s life gets turned completely upside down.
I Am Mother works in a minimalist setting and it works pretty well, although I am uncertain about the image of motherhood that it conveys. I’m also not sure whether it’s a film with a lot of staying power, at least for me. But it was fine while it lasted.
Content Note: sexism, possible transmisogyny, racism
Plot: Carly (Cameron Diaz) is usually all business and has no time for love. But Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) somehow made it into her life anyway – and she’s ready for him to meet her father Frank (Don Johnson). But when he cancels the meeting on short notice because of plumbing problems at his house, Carly decides to surprise him there – only to find Kate (Leslie Mann), Mark’s wife. When Kate realizes what’s happening, she finds that she only has Carly to talk to and to understand what it’s like to get cheated on by Mark. They start plotting their revenge together, especially when they find out that Mark has been seeing Amber (Kate Upton), too.
The Other Woman is a nice take where the cheating dude gets his due and the women don’t get the blame for once. But they could have made more of that premise, I thought, both with regard to the basically-feminist message and the comedy.
Plot: Earth is quickly nearing the point of no return in the energy crisis. Aboard the Cloverfield Space Station, Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is working with her colleagues on a particle accelerator, hoping that they can make it work which would mean a near-endless energy supply. But so far, they have not been successful and they are running out of possibilities to try. But when thing finally seem to go right, the consequeces of their experiments are definitely not what they expected.
The Cloverfield Paradox is a decent space station thriller/horror film. It wouldn’t have necessarily needed the connection to the other two Cloverfield films, but that it can be watched independently is one of its strength, I’d say. As is the awesome cast.
Plot: Ronit (Rachel Weisz) left the Orthodox Jewish community where she grew up behind. But when her father (Anton Lesser) dies, she returns for the funeral. Reconnecting with her best friends Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), her father’s closest student, and Esti (Rachel McAdams), she learns that the two got married. This further complicates her return – because she left all those years ago because she and Esti were in love. And maybe they still are.
Disobedience is a film that finds its strength in the quiet moments and in the lead performances. But it’s also a film that left me with a sense of unease regarding its protrayal of both queerness and of the Orthodox Jewish community.
Plot: Damian (Ben Kingsley) has led a hugely successful life, regretting only that he is estranged from his daughter Claire (Michelle Dockery). Now he is old, rich and dying. But he doesn’t feel ready to die just yet, so he is happy when he discovers Albright (Matthew Goode), a scientist who promises that he can have a new, freshly grown body and start all over again. Damian agrees to the procedure. When he wakes up, his body (Ryan Reynolds) lives up to all of his dreams. As he gets used to it, though, he also keeps getting haunted by dreams and nightmares that appear to him more real than they have any right to be.
Self/less is a decent film. Nothing here says greatness, but it isn’t bad either. It is like a case study for solid entertainment of a kind that has gotten rarer in recent years as budgets have grown and shrunk, leaving few players in the middle of the field.