My Madder Fatter Diary (Rae Earl)

My Madder Fatter Diary is the second collection of diary entries Rae Earl wrote as a teenager. It follows the events after My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary.
Finished on: 10.8.2017

Plot:
It’s 1990. Rae has to face her A Levels and figure out what she can and wants to do next. But figuring yourself out is a tall order even when you don’t struggle with your mother, have mental health issues and no proper help with that, when you aren’t fat or in love with the most gorgeous guy on earth. That means that life’s a tall order for Rae, but at least she has the big personality to match it.

My Madder Fatter Diary manages to bring Rae’s story to a nice conclusion (as much as you can bring a life story that doesn’t end in death to a conclusion). It’s a hugely enjoyable and emotional read that I absolutely loved.

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Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus
Director: Blanche McIntyre
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: David Troughton, Patrick Drury, Nia Gwynne, Martin Hutson, Marcello Walton, Hannah Morrish, Jon Tarcy, Kristin Atherton, Sean Hart, Tom Lorcan, Anthony Ofoegbu, Stefan Adegbola, Joseph Adelakun, Tom McCall, William Bliss, Amber James
Seen on: 9.8.2017

CN: rape and a whole lot of violence

Plot:
Titus (David Troughton) returns home after waging a brutal war which cost him his children. He finds that he is expected to take over as emperor, which he’s actually not interested in doing. What he wants is to exact revenge on the Goth queen Tamora (Nia Gwynne) and her three sons, all four of them his prisoners. But revenge only brings more revenge.

This production of Titus Andronicus uses a modern setting for Shakespeare’s bloodiest play and at times this falls into the category of trying too hard. Given that the play itself also isn’t really my thing, this made for mixed feelings during the performance.

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Jabberwocky (2012)

Jabberwocky
Director: Ted Eschweiler
Writer: Ted Eschweiler
Based on: Lewis Carroll‘s poem
Cast: Todd BruseErin Mae JohnsonDerek Prestly
Seen on: 6.8.2017

Plot:
Alice (Erin Mae Johnson) and the Hatter (Todd Bruse) have nowhere to go, and the Jabberwocky (Derek Prestly) is coming. That means one thing: they have to prepare for an epic fight.

Jabberwocky is a short film that transplants Alice from Wonderland into a post-apocalyptic setting. While I’m not the biggest fan of grimdark interpretations (anymore), it doesn’t overstretch the premise and the poem. And since the poem is made up of many nonsense words, there is enough space there to interpret them differently. In any case, it was well done and looked really good, especially for a small production.

Re-Read: The Loop (Nicholas Evans)

The Loop is a novel by Nicholas Evans. I read the German translation Im Kreis des Wolfes by Bernhard Robben.
Finished on: 5.8.2017

Plot:
Hope, Montana is shaken – the wolves have returned to the woods around town, and the first cattle has been taken. Unofficial town leader Buck Calder will not have it – he just wants those wolves gone. But there are species protection laws and the local specialists send for Helen Ross, a biologist specialized in wolves, to try and figure things out. Helen is in need of a change of scenery and jumps at the chance, clashing pretty much immediately with Calder, but finding an unexpected ally in Calder’s young son Luke.

I read The Loop when I was a teenager (after having loved Evans’ The Horse Whisperer) and was very much taken with it back then. Reading it about 15 years later, it doesn’t quite hold up to my fond memories of it, but it is a decent read.

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Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel ElgortKevin Spacey, Jon BernthalJon HammJamie Foxx, Eiza GonzálezLily JamesCJ JonesSky FerreiraFlea
Seen on: 1.8.2017
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Plot:
Baby (Ansel Elgort) loves music (that drowns out his tinnitus) and driving, at which he’s also very good. A fact that Doc (Kevin Spacey) is using to his own advantage: he coerced Baby to drive during the robberies he meticulously plans. But Baby will soon have worked off his debts with Doc and is looking forward to a free life then, maybe with Debora (Lily James). But Doc isn’t willing to give Baby up all that easily.

Baby Driver wasn’t bad, but I expected it to be more than just nice. It’s well-made but there are quite a few things that didn’t work for me. I can’t help but feeling disappointed about it.

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The Party (2017)

The Party
Director: Sally Potter
Writer: Sally Potter
Cast: Timothy SpallKristin Scott ThomasPatricia ClarksonBruno GanzCherry JonesEmily MortimerCillian Murphy
Seen on: 1.8.2017
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Plot:
Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) was just appointed shadow minister of health, and she wants to celebrate. So she and her supportive husband Bill (Timothy Spall) have invited their closest friends. But despite the joyous occasion, things are tense. It’s not only the bickering of no-nonsense April (Patricia Clarkson) and her spiritual husband Gottfried (Bruno Ganz), or of butch Martha (Cherry Jones) and her pregnant partner Jinny (Emily Mortimer), or the appearance of the slimy and obviously distraught Tom (Cillian Murphy): Bill has been keeping a secret, and he can’t keep it any longer.

The Party is filled with dark and biting humor, delivered by a fantastic cast. It should be great, but somehow it doesn’t quite work out that way.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Based on:  Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières‘s comic Valérian and Laureline
Cast: Dane DeHaanCara DelevingneClive OwenRihannaEthan HawkeHerbie HancockKris WuSam SpruellAlain ChabatRutger HauerPeter HudsonXavier GiannoliLouis LeterrierEric RochantBenoît JacquotOlivier MegatonElizabeth DebickiMathieu KassovitzJohn Goodman
Seen on: 31.7.2017
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Plot:
Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Care Delevingne) are operatives, charged with maintaining peace across the universe. A new mission brings them into possession of a converter, the last creature of its kind. But they can’t expect to be the only ones who want that converter. Their mission brings them to Alpha, a city made for all kinds of species that harbors a secret in its heart.

The fact that this film thought that it would be the right move to take the comic Valerian and Laureline and transform it into Valerian alone, is already pretty indicative of the decision making in the entire film: it might look cool at first glance, but it’s short-sighted, stupid and offensive.

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The Wind Through the Keyhole (Stephen King)

The Wind Through the Keyhole is an extra novel in The Dark Tower series by Stephen King that is set between the fourth – Wizard and Glass – and the fifth novel – Wolves of the Calla without actually advancing the major plot. It was also written after the seven actual novels of the series were finished.
Finished on: 28.7.2017
[Here are my reviews of the other novels in the series.]

Plot:
The ka-tet Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy get trapped in a storm, a starkblast. As they wait it out, Roland tells them the story of when he and Jaime De Curry were sent west to Debaria as young men to investigate the claims of a town that a shapeshifter is terrorizing them. In Debaria Roland finds that the only person who might be able to identify the shapeshifter is a young boy, Bill. They, too, have to wait for a bit, so Roland tells Bill a story he heard in his own childhood, of Tim Ross and his magical quest to avenge his father.

I liked this interlude that provides us with yet another look at Roland’s youth. In fact, it might be one of my favorites of the series – although mostly for the story within the story within the story that was a beautiful fairy tale.

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Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Fionn WhiteheadMark RylanceTom HardyKenneth BranaghJames D’ArcyCillian MurphyHarry StylesDamien BonnardAneurin BarnardBarry KeoghanTom Glynn-CarneyJack Lowden
Seen on: 28.7.2017
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Plot:
It’s the middle of World War II and the Allied forces are struggling. But the situation is nowhere as precarious as in Dunkirk where 400.000 soldiers are huddled on a beach, with no way out but the sea – only that they are easy targets there for the German air force. The situation is desperate, and desperate times call for desperate measures. In this case, civilans take their boats and start the journey from Great Britain to France to pick up the soldiers.

To say that I liked or enjoyed Dunkirk would be very much the wrong vocabulary to use. But I did think it’s a good film that is very effectively made, managing to create tension and pressure, especially via the soundtrack, that is hard to stand.

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Angels in America

Angels in America – Part One: The Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika
Director: Marianne Elliott
Writer: Tony Kushner
Cast: James McArdle, Andrew Garfield, Russell Tovey, Denise Gough, Susan Brown, Nathan Lane, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett
Seen on: 20. and 27.7.2017

Plot:
It’s the 80s and the AIDS crisis is in full swing. Louis Ironson (James McArdle) just found out that his boyfriend Prior Walter (Andrew Garfield) is infected and he doesn’t know how to deal. Joe Pitt (Russell Tovey) also isn’t able to deal: as a Mormon and a Republican and married to Harper (Denise Gough), he can’t possibly be gay, can he? Joe and Louis both work for Roy Cohn (Nathan Lane), a lawyer who may enjoy fucking other man, but that doesn’t make him gay. But Roy’s health is also on the decline.

Angels in America is an affective and effective play, and this production feels monumental. It weighs heavily – as is only right for the topic matter.

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