Nerve (2016)

Nerve
Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Writer: Jessica Sharzer
Based on: Jeanne Ryan’s novel
Cast: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Miles HeizerKimiko GlennMarc John Jefferies, Machine Gun Kelly, Juliette LewisSamira Wiley
Seen on: 10.9.2016

Plot:
When Vee (Emma Roberts) is accused by her best friend Sydney (Emily Meade) that she always plays it safe, Vee impulsively decides to get active in Nerve, an online game of Dare that is making the rounds among the teenagers of the city. Her first dares are innocent enough and bring her in touch with another participant, Ian (Dave Franco). They decide to team up. But the longer they play, the higher the stakes. And soon Vee finds that she can’t get out of the game anymore and she doesn’t even know if she can actually trust Ian.

I didn’t expect much from Nerve, but it turns out it’s an absolutely entertaining film. It’s not a masterpiece in any sense of the word, but it’s enjoyable popcorn cinema.

nerve Continue reading

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

Plot:
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

Plot:
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

What’s Your Number? (2011)

What’s Your Number?
Director: Mark Mylod
Writer: Gabrielle AllanJennifer Crittenden
Based on: Karyn Bosnak‘s novel
Cast: Anna FarisChris EvansAri GraynorBlythe DannerEd Begley Jr.Joel McHaleChris PrattZachary QuintoMartin FreemanAndy Samberg, Anthony MackieAziz Ansari
Seen on: 4.9.2016

Plot:
Ally (Anna Faris) has been dating for a while but so far she wasn’t very lucky. But then two things happen that makes her tackle the issue more aggressively: she gets fired from her job and needs to re-orient herself and she reads an article that says that women who sleep with more than 20 men usually don’t get married. After a quick count, Ally realizes that she slept with 19 men so far – and so she decides to look up all her old boyfriends to re-date them and not add to the list. To track all of them down, Ally gets help from her neighbor Colin (Chris Evans) who in turn gets Ally’s help to get rid of the girls he brings home all the time.

What’s Your Number? does pretty much everything wrong that a RomCom could possibly do wrong (apart from getting Chris Evans naked a lot, that’s excellent), but at least Ally and Colin are surprisingly likeable. But when that’s the best thing you can say about a film, it’s probably clear that the film really doesn’t need to be seen.

whatsyournumber

[Slight SPOILERS]

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

Plot:
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)

Home
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

Plot:
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

Meine Tochter nicht [Not My Daughter] (2010)

Meine Tochter nicht
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Konstanze Breitebner
Cast: Lisa Martinek, Bernhard Schir, Nikola Rudle, Christopher Schärf, Mercedes Echerer, Karl Fischer, Raimund Wallisch, Max SchmiedlHary Prinz, Gerhard Liebmann, Sissy Höfferer
Seen on: 20.8.2016

Plot:
Maria (Lisa Martinek) and Paul Hofer (Bernhard Schir) have a great life – and a wonderful daughter in Nadja (Nikola Rudle). But shortly after Nadja’s sixteenth birthday, trouble arrives in the form of Nadja’s boyfriend Robi (Christopher Schärf). He is older and obviously from a social background that is nowhere near the Hofer’s lifestyle. But worst of all: Robi takes drugs – and he starts to drag Nadja into his addiction, despite her parents’ desperate attempts to keep her safe.

Meine Tochter nicht comes with a strong cast and hits some notes very accurately, but unfortunately loses almost all points in its resolution of the story and its moralizing tone.

meinetochternicht

[SPOILERS] 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

Plot:
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

Mother’s Day (2016)

Mother’s Day
Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Anya Kochoff, Matthew Walker, Tom Hines
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Timothy Olyphant, Shay MitchellJason Sudeikis, Julia RobertsHector Elizondo, Kate Hudson, Margo Martindale, Aasif Mandvi, Robert Pine, Sarah Chalke, Cameron Esposito, Jennifer Garner, Britt Robertson, Jack Whitehall, Jon Lovitz, Penny Marshall
Seen on: 16.8.2016

Plot:
Mothers come in many shapes and forms. Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is really good at being divorced from Henry (Timothy Olyphant): they get along better now than they ever did before. That is, until Henry tells her that he has a new girlfriend (Shay Mitchell) who is much younger. Meanwhile, sisters Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Gabi (Sarah Chalke) are both happy in their respective partnerships and with the distance that lies between them and their parents (Margo Martindale, Robert Pine) – who don’t know that Jesse’s partner (Aasif Mandvi) is of Indian descent and that Gabi’s partner (Cameron Esposito) is a woman. Miranda (Julia Roberts) on the other hand opted out of being a mother and rather focused on her career, while Kristin (Britt Robertson) and Zack (Jack Whitehall) just had a baby, despite being rather young and poor. And Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) has to face the first Mother’s Day with his daughters since his wife passed away.

Mother’s Day was shown in the sneak preview I attended, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered watching it. But I have to admit that it was a rather enjoyable film – even if far from flawless.

mothersday 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

Plot:
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