Supernova (2020)

Supernova
Director: Harry Macqueen
Writer: Harry Macqueen
Cast: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, Pippa Haywood, Peter MacQueen
Seen on: 8.11.2021

Plot:
Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) are setting off on a road trip together, towards a concert Sam will be giving, the first in a long time. On the way there, they are determined to visit important places and people of their life together. Since Tusker was diagnosed with dementia and is lapsing more and more, their trip is something like a farewell tour, too.

Supernova is a beautiful and sad film with great performances and a devastating soundtrack (thank you, Keaton Henson). It should not be missed.

The film poster showing Sam (Colin Firth) with his arm around Tusker (Stanley Tucci) as they stand on the shore of a lake.
Continue reading

The Starling (2021)

The Starling
Director: Theodore Melfi
Writer: Matt Harris
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Kevin Kline, Timothy Olyphant, Daveed Diggs, Skyler Gisondo, Laura Harrier
Seen on: 5.11.2021

Plot:
Lilly (Melissa McCarthy) and Jack (Chris O’Dowd) used to be very happy, but they aren’t anymore. Jack is in a psychiatric hospital, and Lilly is barely holding it together at work and at home. When a starling takes up residence in her garden and starts attacking her to defend its nest, Lilly can’t handle this at all. But her rage at the bird also sets things in motion again for her, and maybe even for Jack.

The Starling is sweet, touching and even funny, despite the very heavy topic it takes on. But it does so with a constant sense of hope, even at the worst time, and it’s just really beautiful to watch.

The film poster showing Lilly (Melissa McCarthy) lying on a lounge chair outside in the garden, a starling sitting on her shoulder.
Continue reading

Puddin’ (Julie Murphy)

Puddin’ is a novel by Julie Murphy. It’s a companion to Dumplin’.
Finished on: 4.11.2021

Plot:
Millie Michalchuk has spent every summer at fat camp, not that it had much effect on her being fat. And really, she is quite alright with being fat, but her mom isn’t, and so the threat of fat camp hangs over her head yet again. But this year, Millie has other plans. She just doesn’t know yet how to tell her mom about it. That entire thing takes a backseat though when the gym that Millie works at and that belongs to her uncle is vandalized. Millie realizes that one of the perpetrators is Callie Reyes. Popular, beautiful and mean, and now, apparently a criminal, Callie is everything that Millie is not. When Millie’s uncle decides that Callie can work off the damages at the gym, neither Millie nor Callie are thrilled to be working with the other. But Millie is determined to make a friend out of Callie yet, despite everything. And somehow, things start moving.

Puddin’ is a super cute and sweet read that I enjoyed a lot, even though I was a little disappointed because I was hoping for this turn into a romance between Millie and Callie. It does not. But it does tell a very nice story about platonic friendship and that is great, too.

The book cover showing an illustration of two girls, a white fat girl in a black dress with white flowers and a Brown thin girl in a dance uniform.
Continue reading

Horse Girl (2020)

Horse Girl
Director: Jeff Baena
Writer: Jeff Baena, Alison Brie
Cast: Alison Brie, Molly Shannon, Debby Ryan, John Reynolds, John Ortiz, Lauren Weedman, Hazel Armenante, Jake Picking, Toby Huss, Robin Tunney, Matthew Gray Gubler
Seen on: 3.11.2021

Content Note: cripping up

Plot:
Sarah (Alison Brie) lives a very quiet life. She works at an arts and craft store with Joan (Molly Shannon) and very much likes crafts herself. She lives with a roommate, Nikki (Debby Ryan), who keeps inviting her to go out a little more, but she rather stays home to watch a supernatural TV show about Agatha (Robin Tunney) and Darren (Matthew Gray Gubler). In her time off, she likes to visit a horse that used to be hers. But Sarah finds herself having strange dreams and zoning out more and more. There is something going on that she just can’t grasp.

Horse Girl is a very well-made film that is serious beneath its soft appearance and its sense of humor. With a fantastic performance by Brie, we get a character study that packs a punch after a soft beginning.

The film poster showing an ultra close-up of Sarah (Alison Brie) .
Continue reading

Re-Watch: The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

The Matrix Revolutions
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Sequel to: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gina Torres, Mary Alice, Nathaniel Lees, Helmut Bakaitis, Lambert Wilson, Monica Bellucci, Collin Chou, Essie Davis, Nona Gaye, Cornel West, Bruce Spence
Seen on: 1.11.2021

Content Note: ableism

Plot:
Zion is still under threat, and their time is running out. Meanwhile Neo (Keanu Reeves) is unconscious, and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) suspect that he is still in the Matrix, although his body isn’t plugged in. They start a desperate search for him. Meanwhile Neo learns more about The Matrix and his connection to it – knowledge that will hopefully lead to an end of the war between humans and machines. But whether he can achieve his goal before Zion is destroyed completely is still questionable.

Where The Matrix Reloaded was a step-down from The Matrix, The Matrix Revolutions is a plunge down for several stories. It’s a boring film that gives us an unsatisfying ending of the trilogy. I really hope that the new film will make up for it a little.

The film poster showiing Neo (Keanu Reeves) in the rain, but the raindrops are actually strings of Matrix.
Continue reading

Re-Watch: The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

The Matrix Reloaded
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Sequel to: The Matrix
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gina Torres, Gloria Foster, Nathaniel Lees, Helmut Bakaitis, Lambert Wilson, Monica Bellucci, Randall Duk Kim, Steve Bastoni, Don Battee, Collin Chou, Essie Davis, Terrell Dixon, Nona Gaye, Roy Jones Jr., Shane C. Rodrigo, Cornel West, Leigh Whannell
Seen on: 1.11.2021

Plot:
Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) have joined and built up a strong resistance against the machines, both inside the Matrix and outside of it. When they learn about plans of a large-scale attack on Zion, the one human city left on earth, they only have a short time-frame to prevent it. Meanwhile, Neo is plagued by dreams of Trinity dying that feel an awful lot like visions. Seeking the Oracle (Gloria Foster) for help again, he learns of what is needed. But getting it isn’t easy, especially since Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) also picked up a few skills.

With the upcoming sequel to the original trilogy, I didn’t want to leave it at just watching the first film although I knew that the second film couldn’t keep up with the first. Unfortunately, even with some distance from the hype that the first film generated, The Matrix Reloaded is a disappointment.

The film poster shwoing Neo (Keanu Reeves) and behind him Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) in a brick-built tunnel opening.
Continue reading

Re-Watch: The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory, Anthony Ray Parker
Seen on: 1.11.2021

Plot:
Thomas Anderson, better known under his hacker name Neo (Keanu Reeves), receives a mysterious message that tells him to follow the white rabbit, just before there is a knock on the door and a customer with a white rabbit tattoo leads him away. This fateful encounter brings him to Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), probably the best known hackers in the world, always on the run from the law. They offer him a choice: Neo can follow them and learn the truth about the world, or he can forget about everything and stay trapped. What Neo doesn’t know is that Morpheus is convinced that Neo can save them all. In fact, Neo isn’t even aware that they need saving at first. But he soon learns better.

To say that The Matrix is a formative movie for filmmaking is probably putting it mildly. Seeing it again now, more than twenty years later, the footprint it left is very obvious – and understandable. It is still an awesome film.

The film poster showing Neo (Keanu Reeves), and behind him Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). All dressed n black, wearing sunglasses and holding weapons.
Continue reading

Signal Boost (Alyssa Cole)

Signal Boost is the second novel in the Off the Grid trilogy by Alyssa Cole.
Finished on: 31.10.2021
[Here’s my review of the first novel in the series.]

Content Note: suicidal thoughts, mention of rape and assault

Plot:
After electricity cut off everywhere, and with it all kind of communication systems, John and his best friend Arden made their way to his parents’ cabin. Now they have settled into a more or less comfortable routine with John’s parents and his siblings. Well, as comfortable as the end of the world can probably get. Until one night, John surprises a guy as he tries to steal their tomatoes. Mykhail wasn’t as lucky in the apocalypse as them, but as an astrophycisist he brings information of what might have happened – and a plan of how he may be able to help. For that, he needs to trek to his old university. John, who felt nothing but useless recently and who finds Mykhail very attractive indeed, is determined to go along and see if he can’t help either.

Signal Boost is a quick read that draws you in and makes you root for the characters. The plot itself is a little uneven, but as it takes a backseat to the characters and their relationship, I didn’t mind that too much.

The book cover shwoing an Asian man in front of a starry night sky.
Continue reading

Petite maman [Little Mom] (2021)

Petite maman
Director: Céline Sciamma
Writer: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Nina Meurisse, Stéphane Varupenne, Margot Abascal
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2021

Plot:
Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) just lost her grandmother and now she and her parents (Nina Meurisse, Stéphane Varupenne) have traveled to her grandmother’s home, her mother’s childhood home, to empty it and ready it for the sale. Meanwhile Nelly explores the garden and the woods behind the house where she meets Marion (Gabrielle Sanz) who is building a tree house there. The two girls quickly become friends, but Nelly senses that there is something unusual about the situation.

Petite maman was simply wonderful. The perfect way to end the Viennale for me as it is a beautiful meditation about loss and saying good-bye while keeping the people you love in your heart.

The film poster showing Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) and Marion (Gabrielle Sanz) looking at each other. Below them is a painted landscape, so that their heads and the landscape form a heart.
Continue reading

Dangsin-eolgul-apeseo [In Front of Your Face] (2021)

Dangsin-eolgul-apeseo
Director: Sang-soo Hong
Writer: Sang-soo Hong
Cast: Lee Hye-yeong, Hae-hyo Kwon, Yunhee Cho
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2021

Plot:
Sangok (Lee Hye-yeong) is staying with her sister Jeongok (Yunhee Cho). She lives abroad and has come to re-visit her old home, and meet with director Jaewon (Hae-hyo Kwon) who has always admired Sangok as an actress and would like to do a project with her. It is unclear, though, if Sangok can do it.

In Front of Your Face is a slow, calm film that works only in part. But when it does, there is a certain magic to it.

The film poster showing a blurry image of Sangok (Lee Hye-yeong) hugging herself.
Continue reading