Plot: Émile Zola (Guillaume Canet) and Paul Cézanne (Guillaume Gallienne) have known each other since they were children. But as they grew older, they grew apart from each other. But now Cézanne has come to visit Zola and both are excited to see each other again. Once they get to talking, though, tensions between the two become obvious: Zola wrote a novel that draws on their life and Cézanne is unhappy with how he was portrayed in it. As both reflect on their relationship with each other, their lives and their women, it is unclear whether they can move past that tension and the very different way their lives developed.
Oh boy, Cézanne et moi was an absolutely boring movie. It moves slowly and spends most of its time dwelling on the sexism and misogyny those two men exhibit, while still wanting us to like them. That equation doesn’t work, nor does the film.
Plot: 7 years ago, the world basically ended. There was a meteorite heading towards earth. To stop it, humanity blew it up, but the chemicals that got blown back to earth changed things forever, creating monsters and forcing people underground. Joel (Dylan O’Brien) is one of those people, living in a community in a bunker. Joel is not a fighter, so he hasn’t actually left the bunker, but through a radio, he has found Aimee (Jessica Henwick), the girl he dated when everything went down. Her colony is only a week or so away, but a week among monsters is a very long way. But after the radio dies, Joel decides that he has had it – he will make the trek and find Aimee. Easier said than done, though.
Love and Monsters is cute enough. Not great and probably not a film that will become a favorite of mine, but I enjoyed it while it lasted for sure.
Plot: Loup and Pilar made it out of Outpost 12, aka Santa Olivia – but what are a genetically modified girl and her girlfriend supposed to do when they legally don’t exist at all? Well, in Loup’s case, she quickly has a job offer: to work for an international security firm as the world’s first GMO bodyguard. She agrees, but only if Pilar gets to come, too. Meanwhile, Loup’s old friend Miguel Garza also made it out of Outpost 12 and has promised to testify in front of the senate to shed light on the outposts as well as the GMOs. But nothing is ever as easy as that, is it?
I was so excited about Santa Olivia – I didn’t know what to expect and was wonderfully surprised by what the book delivered. With Saints Astray, unfortunately, it’s quite the opposite. I was expecting so much more, but this is very much a disappointment.
Plot: Marie (Pauline Acquart) and Anne (Louise Blachère) are best friends, united in being not terribly popular. Anne is in the synchronized swimming team, as is Floriane (Adèle Haenel) with whom Marie is very much in love, while Anne has her eye on François (Warren Jacquin) who happens to be dating Floriane. When both Marie and Anne go after their crushes without telling the other, things become very complicated, though.
Water Lilies is a beautiful coming-of-age film, at once kind and emotionally raw, it will probably remind you of many moments when you were young yourself – mostly in a good way. Absolutely fantastic.
Plot: After Izzy Spellman took over the family business in what could be considered a hostile take-over, her parents have started to be hostile right back. Izzy’s management has generally caused a bit of trouble for the business, and it doesn’t help that she is being accused of embezzling a client. With her bookkeeping skills, Izzy might actually have spent some money that she shouldn’t have, but that’s not the point. The question is whether Izzy will actually run the family business into the ground.
Spellman Six gives us a nice ending to the series, albeit not a simple and clean happy end. But then again, when has Izzy ever given us something clean and simple? In any case, it’s sad but also okay that the series has ended now.
Plot: Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles) has a small flower shop on Skid Row, always worrying about his shop’s continued existence. He has two employees, Audrey (Jackie Joseph) and Seymour (Jonathan Haze), but Seymour is not exactly the greatest at his job. When Mushnick threatens once again to fire him, Seymour tells him about an unusual plant that he has been growing and that might be a customer draw. Mushnick gives Seymour one more chance to prove his worth. The plant – nicknamed Audrey Junior – is unusual indeed, not just in the way it looks, but also in the (bloody) care it needs.
The Little Shop of Horrors is a fun film, even if not all its jokes work all that well anymore in today’s context. But overall, I really enjoyed it.
Plot: Katarina (Alicia Vikander) lives with her boyfriend Mattias (Martin Wallström) and fights with her mother (Josephine Bauer). Her life seems to stretch out before her: working a dead-end job, always this close to poverty, and having many children with Matthias. When she discovers classical music, a new world opens up to Katarina. After actually attending a concert together with Mattias, Katarina is even more intrigued. After losing her job, she returns to the concert hall and just stumbles into a job interview. Much to her surprise, the HR manager (Helén Söderqvist Henriksson) hires her. Her position is more than she hoped for, and puts her in the sight of conductor Adam (Samuel Fröler) who takes a liking to her.
Pure was a fantastic film debut for both Langseth and Vikander. It’s an intense portrayal of a young woman and a sharp look at the intersection of gender and class.
“Plot”: Slaying the Dragon looks at how stereotypes about Asians, especially Asian women, shaped their portrayal in Hollywood movies and vice versa. Trying to outline the major tropes, female and male actors are interviewed and films examined. 23 years later, Slaying the Dragon updates that documentary and looks at how films have – and have not – changed in the meantime.
Both documentaries are insightful, making clear statements about representation and how movies affect the world beyond the screen as well. They’re an excellent primer to recognize problematic characterizations and offer a succinct explanation of why they’re problematic.
Plot: Marthe (Isabelle Huppert), Michel (Olivier Gourmet) and their children Judith (Adélaïde Leroux), Marion (Madeleine Budd) and Julien (Kacey Mottet Klein) live right next to a piece of unfinished highway. The highway has remained unfinished for a decade and has become their personal playground, separating them from their mailbox and the road that lead to the next town. Much to their surprise, though, overnight the highway is finished and opened, completely disrupting the life they built together.
Home is an intriguing film with an unusual setting that grows increasingly more absurd and remains captivating throughout. I really enjoyed it.
Plot: Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an art critic, always looking for something new and good. But currently, he is rather more occupied with Josephina (Zawe Ashton). She works in the gallery run by Rhodora (Rene Russo), hoping to become a successful agent herself, and Morf is deeply in love with her, despite having a boyfriend. When Josephina finds out that a recently deceased tenant in her building was an artist who wanted to have all his art destroyed upon his death, she is convinced that his art is something special. She is not wrong, though she couldn’t have foreseen what kind of special it really is.
Velvet Buzzsaw is visually engaging, and has a great cast who obviously had a lot of fun chewing the scenery in this one. But the metaphor at its heart feels a little flimsy and could have done with a little more work.