Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Wonder Woman 1984
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writer: Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, Dave Callaham
Sequel to: Wonder Woman
Based on: William Moulton Marston‘s comics character
Cast: Gal GadotChris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro PascalConnie NielsenRobin Wright, Lilly Aspell, Amr Waked, Kristoffer Polaha
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 21.6.2021

Content Note: rape (dubious consent at the very least), racism, white saviorism

Plot:
Diana (Gal Gadot) has been living among the humans for decades now, occasionally making an appearance as Wonder Woman, but trying to keep those anonymous. For her day job, she works as an anthropologist in the museum where she meets her new, rather eager colleague Barbara (Kristen Wiig), as well as TV personality slash investor Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). While Diana does take a liking to Barbara, she distrusts Lord immediately. And with good reason – as an artifact that supposedly grants wishes goes missing. But not after fulfilling Diana’s biggest wish and bringing back Steve (Chris Pine).

Given it’s late cinema start, the cat was out of the bag regarding Wonder Woman 1984 and its quality, or rather lack thereof. With my expectatons approriately lowered, the film was ultimately okay, apart from the things that were categorically not okay.

The film poster showing Diana (Gal Gadot) as Wonder Woman in a golden, winged suit with the glowing lasso of truth.
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Possessor (2020)

Possessor
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Writer: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rossif Sutherland, Gabrielle Graham, Tuppence Middleton, Raoul Bhaneja, Sean Bean
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Content Note: suicide

Plot:
Tasya (Andrea Riseborough) has a very special job: she takes over people’s bodies, using them to fulfill her company’s missions – usually assassinations. It’s a job that doesn’t allow for errors, and it definitely doesn’t allow its operatives to lose sight of who they are. But Tasya has had some troubles recently, and her new job – taking over Colin (Christopher Abbott) – might be more than she can handle.

Possessor has a really good concept and came with some accolades, but ultimately I’m afraid that I expected a little more than it delivered. Which doesn’t mean that it isn’t an engaging and thoughtful film worth your time.

The film poster showing somebody wearing a mask that looks like a melted face and holding a knife.
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Cyst (2020)

Cyst
Director: Tyler Russell
Writer: Tyler Russell, Andy Silverman
Cast: Eva Habermann, George Hardy, Greg Sestero, Jason Douglas, Gene Jones, Darren Ewing, Torren Davis, Terri Merritt Bennett, Keturah Branch, Francesca Santoro
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Plot:
Patricia (Eva Habermann) has been working as a nurse for Dr Guy (George Hardy) for a while now and she has seen her fair share of things. Dr. Guy’s foremost area of expertise are cysts and he has been working on a machine for the treatment that he hopes to patent. But the last time he tried, Patricia paid the price for it, so when she hears that the people from the patent office are coming again to see the machine, she is outraged. Not even she could have predicted the actual effect of the machine, though.

Cyst leans into its schlocky B-movie nature and that is fun, but maybe not for a full-length feature. It was okay, overall, but not quite as fun as I expected it to be.

The film poster showing the drawing of a back in a hospital gown. The back is covered in pustules and there is a gap in the middle with an eye peeking out.
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Son (2021)

Son
Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Writer: Ivan Kavanagh
Cast: Andi Matichak, Emile Hirsch, Luke David Blumm, Cranston Johnson, Blaine Maye
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Plot:
Laura (Andi Matichak) is the single mom of David (Luke David Blumm) and the two have built a good life with each other. But David doesn’t know that Laura is hiding from her past. But said past catches up with them one night when Laura finds intruders in David’s room. Police office Paul (Emile Hirsch) tries to talk her down. Shortly after though, David contracts a mysterious illness and nobody knows what’s wrong with him. Now Laura has to decide what she is willing to do and to face about her own past to make sure that he is okay.

Son is a well-made film with great performances that is at times a little too predictable. But definitely enjoyable.

The film poster showing Laura (Andi Matichak) cradling her son David (Luke David Blumm) who has blood trickling from his mouth.
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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Director: Michael Chaves
Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Based on: a case from Ed and Lorraine Warren
Sequel to: The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, John Noble, Eugenie Bondurant, Shannon Kook
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Content Note: homomisia

Plot:
Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are supposed to accompany an exorcism of a little boy, David (Julian Hilliard). But as they work on him, things start going very wrong, Lorraine gets odd visions and finally David’s brother-in-law Arne (Ruairi O’Connor) asks the spirit to leave David alone and possess himself instead. Things calm down after that, but Arne’s troubles only just begin.

I have to admit that I expected a little more of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, but it isn’t quite as good as the first two films – especially regarding Ed and Lorraine.

The film poster showing a close-up of Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson). Theres a shaft of light shaped like a cross on Lorraine's face.
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A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

A Quiet Place Part II
Director: John Krasinski
Writer: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski
Sequel to: A Quiet Place
Cast: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy,Djimon Hounsou, Scoot McNairy, John Krasinski
Seen on: 19.6.2021
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Plot:
Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and the baby are all that is left of the Abbott family. With their home destroyed and a newly-discovered weapon against the creatures, they dare venture out to where they saw a signal fire. But the world is a dangerous place, and the creatures aren’t their only problem.

A Quiet Place Part II manages to keep the quality of the first film, although the first film did have a couple of advantages that made it stand out more than this one. But overall, it’s a really satisfying sequel.

The film poster showing Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) carrying a box and some bags, entering an abandoned factory area from the forest.
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Host (2020)

Host
Director: Rob Savage
Writer: Gemma Hurley, Rob Savage, Jed Shepherd
Cast: Haley Bishop, Jemma Moore, Emma Louise Webb, Radina Drandova, Caroline Ward, Edward Linard, Seylan Baxter
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 19.6.2021
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Plot:
Haley (Haley Bishop) has asked her friends Emma (Emma Louise Webb), Caroline (Caroline Ward), Jemma (Jemma Moore), Radina (Radina Drandova) and Teddy (Edward Linard) to join her in a zoom seance led by Seylan (Seylan Baxter). Not all of them are taking it seriously, but then strange things start happening.

It was probably inevitable that the Corona pandemic would produce some kind of homebrewed zoom horror. But what definitely couldn’t be expected is that it is a freaking fantastic and absolutely terrifying homebrewed zoom horror. And yet, here Host is, everything you could hope for.

The film poster showing Haley's (Haley Bishop) eyes brimming with tears at the top and Emma (Emma Louise Webb) hiding under a bedsheet at the bottom.
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The Stylist (2020)

The Stylist
Director: Jill Gevargizian
Writer: Jill Gevargizian, Eric Havens, Eric Stolze
Cast: Najarra Townsend, Brea Grant, Davis DeRock, Sarah McGuire, Jennifer Seward, Millie Milan, Kimberly Igla, Laura Kirk, Chelsea Brown, Bety Le, Kelsey Nicholes
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 19.6.2021
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Plot:
Claire (Najarra Townsend) is a shy stylist who has the habit of scalping some of her clients so she can feel like she lives a different life for a while. When one of her long-term clients, Olivia (Brea Grant) insists that Claire does her hair for her wedding, Claire grows increasingly more drawn to Olivia and her life. But she still tries to leave her murdering days behind.

The Stylist is an aesthetically very pleasing film that suffers from some lengths around the middle that kept me from really loving it.

The film poster showing the drawing of a wig on a mannequin head, blood running from the hairline.
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Bad Hair (2020)

Bad Hair
Director: Justin Simien
Writer: Justin Simien
Cast: Elle Lorraine, Vanessa Williams, Lena Waithe, Yaani King Mondschein, Jay Pharoah, James Van Der Beek, Judith Scott, Kelly Rowland, Usher, Blair Underwood, Michelle Hurd, Chanté Adams, Laverne Cox
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 19.6.2021
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Content Note: attempted rape, (critical treatment of) racism

Plot:
1989. Anna (Elle Lorraine) works for the Black music TV station and dreams of getting her own show. But when the people who own the network decide that their station needs a new direction and new leadership, Anna’s mentor (Judith Scott) gets the shaft and she is faced with the glossy former model Zora (Vanessa Williams) as the new head of the station, ready to revamp everything. That includes Anna’s style. More specifically, her hair that Anna has always worn naturally. Anna knows that nothing less but the new sensational weave from the fancy salon will do, just like superstar Sandra (Kelly Rowland) wears it. It’s only that something is up with that hair.

Bad Hair is not a film that is aimed at me, I don’t think, but I still managed to enjoy it a lot. It has some great effects, is a good time and makes some interesting political points.

The film poster showing a Black hand reaching from a mass of straight black hair.
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The Nowhere Inn (2020)

The Nowhere Inn
Director: Bill Benz
Writer: Carrie Brownstein, St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark)
Cast: St. Vincent, Carrie Brownstein, Dakota Johnson
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 18.6.2021
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Content Note: sexualized violence

Plot:
Annie Clark (Annie Clark aka St. Vincent) has asked her best friend Carrie Brownstein (Carrie Brownstein) to shoot a documentary about her as she goes on tour. Carrie is committed to show Annie like she really is, both on-stage as St. Vincent and off-stage as Annie. But it quickly becomes apparent that Annie is not really interesting. In their attempts to bring St. Vincent and Annie Clark a little closer together, things start to spiral out of control and the line between documentary and fiction, movie making and reality blurs more and more.

The Nowhere Inn is a strange film that works for the most part, both as meta-/autofiction and as advertising for St. Vincent. It is certainly worth it to let yourself be taken on that ride.

The film poster showing a woman (possibly St Vincent) from behind, wearing a jacket that says The Nowhere Inn on the back.
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