Baden Baden (2016)

Baden Baden
Director: Rachel Lang
Writer: Rachel Lang
Cast: Salomé Richard, Claude Gensac, Lazare Gousseau, Swann Arlaud, Olivier Chantreau, Jorijn Vriesendorp, Noémie RossetZabou Breitman, Kate Moran
Part of: Scope100
Seen on: 18.12.2016

Plot:
After an aborted attempt to work abroad, Ana (Salomé Richard) returns home to Strasbourg with the summer stretched ahead of her. She starts to renovate her grandmother’s (Claude Gensac) bathroom just to have something to do, while trying to figure out her life. Which, as usual, is easier said than done. As she reconnects with old and new friends, things don’t necessarily become any clearer for her.

Baden Baden wasn’t great, but it was far from bad. But it’s not a film that touched me particularly deeply or will stay with me for a long time.

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La prunelle de mes yeux [The Apple of My Eye] (2016)

La prunelle de mes yeux
Director: Axelle Ropert
Writer: Axelle Ropert
Cast: Mélanie Bernier, Bastien Bouillon, Antonin Fresson, Chloé Astor, Swann Arlaud, Laurent Mothe
Part of: Scope100
Seen on: 17.12.2016

Plot:
When Théo (Bastien Bouillon) meets Élise (Mélanie Bernier) in the elevator of his new apartment building, he doesn’t realize that she’s blind and thinks she’s absolutely ignoring him. They take an immediate dislike to each other. Théo wants to teach Élise a lesson, so he pretends to have gone blind himself and asks for her help to find his way in this to him new world – to which Élise agrees. And maybe they’ll find out that they like each other after all.

La prunelle de mes yeux is one of the worst, most offensive films I have ever seen. It is an ableist, sexist pile of shit that should never have been made. Had I seen it at the cinema instead of at home where I could let my frustration out, I would have walked out of the film.

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Marie Curie [Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge] (2016)

Marie Curie
Director: Marie Noelle
Writer: Marie Noelle, Andrea Stoll
Cast: Karolina Gruszka, Arieh Worthalter, Charles Berling, Izabela Kuna, Malik Zidi, André Wilms, Daniel Olbrychski, Marie Denarnaud, Samuel Finzi, Piotr Glowacki, Jan Frycz, Sabin Tambrea
Seen on: 14.12.2016

Plot:
Marie Curie (Karolina Gruszka) is a researcher who is working on isolating radium together with her husband Pierre (Charles Berling). Things are going pretty well until Pierre dies in an accident. Suddenly Marie – who keeps working despite her grief – has to defend herself and her capability to do the job, with people around her doubting that she would be able to do anything without Pierre. With researcher Paul Langevin (Arieh Worthalter) at her side, she persists regardless. Even when their very relationship becomes cause to doubt Curie’s morality.

Marie Curie is an interesting take on an interesting woman. It does have a couple of lengths and I would have appreciated it if it hadn’t focused almost entirely on her relationships with men, but I definitely enjoyed it.

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Fucking Different XXX (2011)

Fucking Different XXX
Part of: Transition Festival
Seen on: 14.11.2016

Fucking Different XXX is a queer porn anthology where the lesbian directors tackle the gay sex and the gay directors the lesbian sex.

I liked the idea of this anthology, but unfortunately the result wasn’t really my thing. Apart from a few moments, I didn’t really enjoy it. Also, for an anthology that is all about switching and queering things up, it felt pretty tame. There was only one segment, Offing Jack, that features a nonbinary person and a fat guy, that really manages to break through the mold of usual, if mostly homosexual sex.

After the jump, I’ll talk about each segment separately.

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Women Who Kill (2016)

Women Who Kill
Director: Ingrid Jungermann
Writer: Ingrid Jungermann
Cast: Ingrid Jungermann, Sheila VandAnn Carr
Part of: Transition Festival
Seen on: 14.11.2016

Plot:
Morgan (Ingrid Jungermann) and her ex-girlfriend Jean (Ann Carr) may not be together anymore, but they still do everything together. That includes their podcast on the topic of female serial killers and working at the local food co-op. It is there that Morgan meets Simone (Sheila Vand) and falls in love with her head over heels. Despite warnings about Simone being a total stranger, Morgan throws herself into the new love. But things about Simone are weird – and maybe she’s hiding something.

Women Who Kill is an unusual film with strange characters who have the potential to be very unlikeable. It could have gone very wrong, but thanks to its dry sense of humor, it goes very right. I liked it a lot.

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A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015)

A Tale of Love and Darkness
Director: Natalie Portman
Writer: Natalie Portman
Based on: Amos Ozautobiographical novel
Cast: Natalie Portman, Gilad KahanaAmir TesslerMoni MoshonovOhad KnollerMakram KhouryAlexander Peleg
Seen on: 13.11.2016

Plot:
Amos (Amir Tessler) lives with his parents Fania (Natalie Portman) and Arieh (Gilad Kahana) in Jerusalem. They are a happy family, although Fania misses her family in Tel Aviv, with whom communication is difficult due to the political circumstances. Amos grows up close to his mother who loves to tell him stories. At least until she becomes more and more depressed.

A Tale of Love and Darkness is not a bad film for a first feature from Portman as director. It does have a few weaknesses, but it certainly shows a lot of promise for her as both writer and director.

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Schau mich nicht so an [Don’t Look at Me That Way] (2015)

Schau mich nicht so an
Director: Uisenma Borchu
Writer: Uisenma Borchu
Cast: Uisenma Borchu, Catrina StemmerAnne-Marie WeiszJosef Bierbichler
Part of: Transition Festival
Seen on: 11.11.2016

Plot:
Hedi (Uisenma Borchu) moves in next doo to Iva (Catrina Stemmer) and her daughter Sofia (Anne-Marie Weisz). Sofia is curious about Hedi and Iva a single parent who needs help, so Hedi finds herself quickly involved in their lives, even beginning a romantic relationship with Iva. When Iva’s father (Josef Bierbichler) turns up, Hedi is intrigued. While Iva desperately tries to keep her distance from him, Hedi seeks him out.

Schau mich nicht so an is a weird film with weird characters. At the beginning I found this weirdness interesting, but it lost more of its charm with every passing minute.

[SPOILERS]

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The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008)

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond
Director: Jodie Markell
Writer: Tennessee Williams
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Evans, Will Patton, Ann-Margret, Mamie Gummer, Jessica Collins, Ellen Burstyn, Zach Grenier
Seen on: 6.11.2016

Plot:
Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) has spent some time overseas. Now she’s back home and supposed to come out to society. But while she was gone, her father caused some trouble in their town and is now hated. Fisher herself is rather wild and outspoken. The two things in combination leave her rather ostracized. She can’t even find a date to accompany her. So she pays Jimmy (Chris Evans) to accompany her. Jimmy’s family used to have a big name, but they have since fallen in standing. And Jimmy has his fair share of troubles to contend with, but he desperately needs the money.

I do wonder why nobody ever talks about The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. Not only is it by Tennessee Williams (a “lost screenplay” that resurfaced 50 years after it was written), it’s a really good film.

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Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)

Bridget Jones’s Baby
Director: Sharon Maguire
Writer: Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer, Emma Thompson
Based on: Helen Fielding‘s novels
Sequel to: Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Cast: Renée ZellwegerColin FirthPatrick Dempsey, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Sally Phillips, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Shirley HendersonJessica Hynes, Ed Sheeran, Emma Thompson, Celia Imrie
Seen on: 5.11.2016

Plot:
Bridget (Renée Zellweger) is in her early 40s now, still single, still childless and she’s just been to the funeral of her ex Daniel where she met her other Ex Mark (Colin Firth) who is married now. So it’s a good thing that she’s focusing on her career, even though things aren’t entirely problem-free there. So Bridget needs a break and she catches not one, but two in short succession: First she meets the handsome Jack (Patrick Dempsey) and sleeps with him and then Mark tells her that he’s actually getting divorced and the two reconnect. In bed. But things will never be easy for Bridget: it turns out that she’s pregnant and she really doesn’t know who the father is.

It’s been many years that I saw the first two movies, but I remember them very fondly. And Bridget Jones’s baby was a very worthy successor: superfunny and very sweet.

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Was hat uns bloß so ruiniert [We Used to Be Cool] (2016)

Was hat uns bloß so ruiniert [literally: What ruined us so much]
Director: Marie Kreutzer
Writer: Marie Kreutzer
Cast: Vicky KriepsPia HierzeggerPheline RogganMarcel MohabManuel RubeyAndreas Kiendl
Seen on: 4.11.2016

Plot:
Stella (Vicky Krieps) and Markus (Marcel Mohab), Ines (Pia Hierzegger) and Chris (Manuel Rubey), Mignon (Pheline Roggan) and Luis (Andreas Kiendl) are three couples who have been friends for a long time. As they’ve passed their 30th birthday, the question of children starts to arise. It just so happens that after Stella and Markus decide they want to have a kid, Ines finds herself accidentally pregnant and Mignon pressures Luis, maybe just to not be the only one who isn’t pregnant. So all three couples find themselves expecting a kid, but not really expecting their lives to change or wanting it.

Was hat uns bloß so ruiniert comes with a lot of praise, but I wasn’t all that taken with it. It is funny and it has a lot of charm, but it didn’t resonate with me all that much.

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