Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Writer: Jennifer Saunders
Based on/sequel to: the series
Cast: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Jane Horrocks, Julia Sawalha, Robert WebbCelia ImrieMark Gatiss, Chris ColferKate Moss, Graham NortonGwendoline ChristieSuki WaterhouseLily ColeAlexa ChungStella McCartneyJerry HallEmma BuntonJon HammKathy LetteJeremy PaxmanDawn FrenchRebel WilsonBarry HumphriesJoan Collins
Seen on: 8.9.2016

Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) have been best friends since about forever, spending most of their time battling the idea that growing older also means growing up. Instead they party in the world of high fashion all of the time. But they’re also struggling with keeping up their standard of living, Edina dreaming of finding a big client she can represent, and Patsy of finding a rich husband. When they hear that Kate Moss (as herself) is looking for new representation, they do everything to get close to her. But it ends in catastrophe: Kate is knocked into the Thames and disappears, and Edina and Patsy have to flee the country.

I’ve never seen the TV show this is based on/a sequel to, but I decided to see the film anyway because it’s rare enough to get such a female-centric film (both in front of and behind the camera). But honestly, I’m a little unsure what to do with this film – and I probably wouldn’t have if I had been familiar with the show before.

asolutelyfabulous Continue reading

Una hermana [One Sister] (2016)

Una hermana
Director: Sofía BrockenshireVerena Kuri
Writer: Sofía Brockenshire, Verena Kuri
Cast: Sofia Palomino
Seen on: 5.9.2016

Argentina, in the middle of nowhere. A young woman (Sofia Palomino) is looking for her sister who disappeared. She is determined to leave no stone unturned, no path and possibility unexamined to find her. But she seems to be getting nowhere with her search – all she achieves is becoming more and more lost herself.

Una hermana is a slow film that keeps turning in circles. Even if that was its intention, it made it hard to watch and often simply boring. While I could get into it for stretches at a time, it didn’t quite come together for me.

unahermana Continue reading

King of the Belgians (2016)

King of the Belgians
Director: Peter BrosensJessica Woodworth
Writer: Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth
Cast: Peter Van den BeginLucie DebayTitus De VoogdtBruno GeorisGoran RadakovicPieter van der Houwen
Seen on: 3.9.2016

King Nicolas III of Belgium (Peter Van den Begin) is on state visit in Turkey, together with his chief of protocol Ludovic Moreau (Bruno Georis), valet Carlos De Vos (Titus De Voogdt) press liaison Louise Vancraeyenest (Lucie Debay) and documentary filmmaker Duncan Lloyd (Pieter van der Houwen). The latter is supposed to chronicle the life and responsibilities of a King. But their visit turns sour when news reaches them that Wallonia seceded from Belgium. Nicolas knows he has to return home quickly, but due to cosmic storms and international protocol, he can neither communicate with home, nor leave officially. So instead he and his small band of faithfuls decide to travel home through the Balkans, incognito.

I liked the idea behind King of the Belgians and it starts off rather funny, but it never really gathered enough momentum to win me over entirely.

kingofthebelgians Continue reading

Home (2016)

Director: Fien Troch
Writer: Nico Leunen, Fien Troch
Cast: Sebastian Van DunLena Suijkerbuijk, Mistral Guidotti, Loïc BellemansKarlijn SileghemRobbie CleirenEls Deceukelier
Seen on: 3.9.2016

When Kevin (Sebastian Van Dun) is released from juvenile prison, his mother (Els Dottermans) finds that having him return into the old family situation really isn’t the best thing to do. So she asks her sister Sonja (Karlijn Sileghem) to take him instead. Sonja reluctantly agrees. They find work for Kevin with Sonja’s husband Willem (Robbie Cleiren) and Kevin finds social connections with Sonja’s son Sammy (Loïc Bellemans), his girlfriend Lina (Lena Suijkerbuijk) and his best friend John (Mistral Guidotti). But despite good intentions, things don’t really work out all that smoothly.

Home realistically portrays its protagonists and its story. That is sometimes very hard to bear, but most of the time, it’s worth to fight through it. I only found the ending a little disappointing.

home Continue reading

Das Floß! [Floating!] (2015)

Das Floß!
Director: Julia C. Kaiser
Writer: Julia C. Kaiser
Cast: Julia Becker, Anna König, Jakob Renger, Till ButterbachRhon Diels, Christian Natter, Nina Bernards, Sina Bianca Hentschel
Seen on: 20.8.2016

Katha (Julia Becker) and Jana (Anna König) are about to get married. Before marriage, though, comes the bachelorette party. Katha is dragged off by her best friend Charly (Till Buterbach) to spend the weekend on a float on a river with her little brother Tobi (Christian Natter), her friend Ken (Rhon Diels) and – much to her dismay – with Momo (Jakbo Renger) as well, the guy who is about to donate his sperm so Katha and Jana can have a baby and with whom Katha doesn’t really want to have anything to do outside of the donating. Meanwhile Jana is partying at home with her friends and has to confront another unwanted guest: her ex-girlfriend Susan (Nina Bernards).

Das Floß! is entertaining enough, though it didn’t entirely blow me away. At least it’s a refreshingly modern take on some old tropes.

dasfloss Continue reading

Schnick Schnack Schnuck (2015)

Schnick Schnack Schnuck [a more or less nonsensical phrase said when playing Rock, Paper, Scissors in German]
Director: Maike Brochhaus
Writer: Maike Brochhaus, Sören Störung
Cast: Felix Anderson, Jana Sue Zuckerberg, Elia Légère, Jenz, Dana, Lotta Habmut, Sören Störung
Seen on: 14.8.2016

Felix (Felix Anderson) and Emmi (Jana Sue Zuckerberg) have been a couple for a while and are rather settled in their ways. When Felix hatches the plan to go to a festival in Amsterdam for the weekend with his friend Kai (Elia Légère), Emmi prepares for a quiet weekend working at home. But things turn out different for the both of them: Instigated by Kai’s sense for (sexual) adventure, he and Felix meet Steffi (Dana) and Anke (Jenz), while Emmi catches up with her old friend Magda (Lotta Habmut) whom she happens to find in a rather explicit online video.

Schnick Schnack Schnuck is pretty much what I think porn should be like. There’s a plot, a very nice sense of humor, interesting characters who have smart conversations and then end up fucking. It’s great.

schnickschnackschnuck Continue reading

Gorge coeur ventre [Still Life] (2016)

Gorge coeur ventre [literally: Throat Heart Stomach]
Director: Maud Alpi
Writer: Maud Alpi, Baptiste Boulba
Cast: Virgile Hanrot, Dimitri Buchenet
Seen on: 13.8.2016

A young man (Virgile Hanrot) and his dog Boston spend their nights working at a slaughterhouse. The dog has to wait outside while the man makes sure that the animals go to their death as promptly as possible. During the day, they spend most of their time living in an abandoned house, without many comforts. They seem to be waiting for something, but it isn’t clear for what.

Gorge Coeur Ventre looks at the relationship between tenderness and cruelty, on which it is an interesting meditation, but one that would have probably sufficed to be a short film rather than a feature.

gorgecoeurventre Continue reading

L’indomptée [Daydreams] (2016)

L’indomptée [literally The (female) Untamed]
Director: Caroline Deruas-Garrel
Writer: Caroline Deruas-Garrel, Maud Ameline
Cast: Clotilde Hesme, Jenna Thiam, Tchéky Karyo, Renato Carpentieri, Pascal Reneric, Marilyne Canto
Seen on: 13.8.2016

Camille (Clotilde Hesme) has devoted the past decade or so to her husband, the writer Marc (Tchéky Karyo). But now it’s her turn – she applies for an artist scholarship at the Villa Medici to finally get started with her own writing career, and is awarded a spot. There she meets Axèle (Jenna Thiam), a young photographer who is also in the program. As tensions between Camille and Marc, who accompanied her, grow, Camille grows more and more fascinated with Axèle and the mystery she poses.

I very much enjoyed L’indomptée. It’s an atmospheric film with great performances that managed to draw me in completely.

lindomptee Continue reading

Maggie’s Plan (2015)

Maggie’s Plan
Director: Rebecca Miller
Writer: Rebecca Miller, Karen Rinaldi
Cast: Greta GerwigEthan HawkeJulianne Moore, Travis Fimmel, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn, Fredi Walker-Browne
Seen on: 12.8.2016

Maggie (Greta Gerwig) wants a child and she doesn’t want to wait until she meets the right man for her, she wants it now. So she asks old acquaintance Guy (Travis Fimmel) if he would be willing to give her his sperm and he agrees. But right around this time, she meets John (Ethan Hawke) and falls for him – and he for her. John leaves his wife Georgette (Julianne Moore) and the two move in together. A few years later, Maggie has a lovely daughter, but her love for John has cooled substantially. So she hatches the plan that maybe she could get him back together with Georgette.

Maggie’s Plan is an absolutely adorable, wonderful, funny and sweet film. It proves that a light film doesn’t necessarily have to be stupid.

maggiesplan Continue reading

Mañana a esta hora [This Time Tomorrow] (2016)

Mañana a esta hora
Director: Lina Rodriguez
Writer: Lina Rodriguez
Cast: Laura Osma, Maruia Shelton, Francisco Zaldua, Clara Monroy, Catalina Cabra, Francisco Restrepo, Juan Miguel Santana, Juan Pablo Cruz Pablo, Valentina Gómez, Alejandra Adarve, Kala Cruz
Seen on: 12.8.2016

Adelaida (Laura Osma) lives a rather harmonious life with her parents Francisco (Francisco Zaldua) and Lena (Maruia Shelton). Lena works as an event planner and takes care of the household and is also the main antagonist for teenaged Adelaida as she is slowly growing up. Francisco remains at the background, letting Lena run the show. But when tragedy comes to their door, the family has to figure out another way to organize and live their lives.

Mañana a esta hora is a calm, somewhat small film that becomes a little thin as it is stretched out to feature length, but there is still merit in watching it.

mananaaestahora Continue reading