Los decentes [A Decent Woman] (2016)

Los decentes
Director: Lukas Valenta Rinner
Writer: Ana GodoyAriel GurevichMartín Shanly, Lukas Valenta Rinner
Cast: Iride MockertIvanna Colona OlsenMariano SayavedraPablo Seijo, Martín Shanly, Andrea Strenitz
Seen on: 19.9.2017

Belen (Iride Mockert) finds a new job as a maid in a gated community just outside Buenos Aires. It’s a rich, proper and maybe a little boring place. But adjacent to it is another kind of gated community: a nudist swinger club. The quiet Belen finds herself intrigued and starts to visit that club more and more.

Maybe Los Decentes simply caught me at the wrong time, but for whatever reason I couldn’t get into the film and found it mostly exhausting to sit through.

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Logan Lucky (2017)

Logan Lucky
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Rebecca Blunt
Cast: Channing TatumAdam DriverDaniel CraigRiley KeoughKatie HolmesKatherine WaterstonSeth MacFarlaneJim O’HeirBrian GleesonJack QuaidHilary Swank
Seen on: 18.9.2017

Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) just got fired. So instead of a regular income, he needs a different way to get some money. Fortunately he has a plan. Together with his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and his sister Mellie (Riley Keough) they’re going to rob the NASCAR bets during a race. But first, they need somebody who knows explosives and there’s nobody more knowledgeable than Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). Fortunately, Joe is currently in prison. So they all have their work cut out for them.

Logan Lucky is very entertaining, albeit not particularly deep. It may think that it’s a little funnier than it is, but it is funny enough to make it absolutely enjoyable.

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Free Fire (2016)

Free Fire
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley
Cast: Enzo CilentiSam RileyMichael SmileyBrie LarsonCillian MurphyArmie HammerSharlto CopleyBabou CeesayNoah TaylorJack Reynor
Seen on: 17.9.2017

Bernie (Enzo Cilento) and his brother Stevo (Sam Riley) are meeting with IRA guys Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) and their American contact Justine (Brie Larson). They are preparing for a weapons deal mediated by Ord (Armie Hammer) who got them in touch with South African arms dealer Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and his group – Martin (Babou Ceesay), Harry (Jack Reynor) and Gordon (Noah Taylor). But things quickly go sideways and turn very bloody.

Free Fire starts off strong enough, but after a while it becomes so repetitive, it loses all tempo and becomes nothing but dreary.

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Napadid shodan [Disappearance] (2017)

Napadid shodan
Director: Ali Asgari
Writer: Ali Asgari, Farnoosh Samadi
Cast: Sadaf AsgariAmirreza Ranjbaran
Seen on: 16.9.2017

Sara (Sadaf Asgari) and Hamed (Amirreza Ranjbaran) move from hospital to hospital in Tehran. They have had sex and have to face the consequences. But they aren’t married and hospital after hospital refuses them the care they so desperately need and search, also putting a strain on their relationship.

Disappearance is a very effective comment on what happens when (bodily) autonomy is severely undercut and it’s a very effective film in general.

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Les bienheureux [The Blessed] (2017)

Les bienheureux
Director: Sofia Djama
Writer: Sofia Djama
Cast: Salima AbadaFaouzi BensaïdiAdam BessaSami BouajilaNadia KaciLyna KhoudriAmine Lansari
Seen on: 6.9.2017

It’s 2008 and Samir (Sami Bouajila) and Amal (Nadia Kaci) are celebrating their 20th anniversary in Algiers, remembering not only their relationship, but also the time of the civil war. Meanwhile their son Fahim (Amine Lansari) and his friends Feriel (Lyna Khoudri) and Reda (Adam Bessa) are having a different kind of night out: Reda wants to get a surah tattooed, an act of faith for him that may very well be perceived as blasphemous. Fahim, who is mostly preoccupied with pissing of his parents, and Feriel – a progressive young woman outspoken in her politics – don’t really understand Reda, but as they have nothing better to do, they join him on his quest to find somebody willing to do it.

The Blessed takes a while to get where its going, but once it’s underway, it carries quite a punch, sketching a layered picture of a struggling, post-war society.

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The Limehouse Golem (2016)

The Limehouse Golem
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Writer: Jane Goldman
Based on: Peter Ackroyd‘s novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem
Cast: Douglas BoothOlivia CookeSam ReidMaría ValverdeDaniel MaysBill NighyPeter SullivanEddie Marsan
Seen on: 6.9.2017

Limehouse, London has turned into a terrifying place after a series of murders has taken place. Inspector John Kildare (Bill Nighy) is finally called in to investigate and he senses a connection to music hall star Elizabeth Cree (Olivia Cooke) who has been accused of poisoning he husband on the very night of the last of the killings. He starts interviewing Lizzie and is soon determined to solve both cases.

The Limehouse Golem is okay, neither particularly great, nor particularly bad – although it would have probably benefitted from a push in either direction. As is, it is a little too bland to be really memorable.

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Strange Colours (2017)

Strange Colours
Director: Alena Lodkina
Writer: Alena Lodkina, Isaac Wall
Cast: Kate CheelJustin CourtinDaniel P. Jones
Seen on: 5.9.2017

Milena (Kate Cheel) makes her way to a very remote location, even for Australian standards: an opal mine where her father Max (Daniel P. Jones) works and lives. They haven’t talked in a long time and the distance between isn’t entirely comfortable. But Max is ill and in hospital at the moment – the reason for Milena’s visit. She slowly explores her father’s strange surroundings, trying to take in his world – and maybe through that, understand also the man himself.

I really enjoyed the first half of the film, but then it felt more and more that the film lost its control – and with it also my interest.

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Into the Forest (2015)

Into the Forest
Director: Patricia Rozema
Writer: Patricia Rozema
Based on: Jean Hegland’s novel
Cast: Ellen PageEvan Rachel WoodMax MinghellaCallum Keith RennieMichael EklundWendy Crewson
Seen on: 2.9.2017

Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) grow up with their father (Callum Keith Rennie) just outside of a small town in the Redwood Forest. But then something happens and slowly the infrastructure around them falls apart. First there is no more electricity, then no more gas and then they are entirely isolated in their forest home. When they realize that power, infrastructure and life as it was won’t be reinstated any time soon, Nell and Eva have to try and manage their lives on their own.

Into the Forest is not only a great adaptation of the novel I utterly loved, but simply a beautiful film in its own right.

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Viceroy’s House (2017)

Viceroy’s House
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Writer: Paul Mayeda BergesMoira Buffini, Gurinder Chadha
Cast: Hugh BonnevilleGillian AndersonManish DayalHuma QureshiMichael GambonOm PuriDavid HaymanSimon CallowDenzil SmithNeeraj KabiTanveer GhaniLily Travers
Seen on: 30.8.2017

Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) arrive in India as Mountbatten is tasked with overseeing the transition from India to independence from British colonialism. It’s a job where Mountbatten has a very slim chance to come out on top, as religious and political tensions in India are high. A fact that is also very apparent to Jeet (Manish Dayal), a Hindu who just started working at the Viceroy’s palace. There he finds Aalia (Huma Qureshi) again, a young Muslim woman who he used to be in love with. And while Aalia seems to like Jeet as well, things really aren’t easy.

There were a couple of things I struggled with during the film, but it was an engaging film, albeit one that doesn’t quite manage to be the film it could have been.

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Die göttliche Ordnung [The Divine Order] (2017)

Die göttliche Ordnung
Director: Petra Biondina Volpe
Writer: Petra Biondina Volpe
Cast: Marie LeuenbergerMaximilian SimonischekRachel BraunschweigSibylle BrunnerMarta ZoffoliBettina StuckyNoe KrejcíElla RumpfNicholas Ofczarek
Seen on: 23.8.2017

Nora (Marie Leuenberger) is a young housewife and mother, happy with her husband Hans (Maximilian Simonischek). Things could go on forever like they have and it feels like they did. But even the remotest Swiss town will be touched by the 68 movement. For Nora it comes in the shape of the discussion about the right for women to vote. And she finds that in 1971, this really shouldn’t be a discussion anymore, but a reality. As she starts to campaign in her village, though, she realizes that far from everybody shares her conviction.

Die göttliche Ordnung is a lighthearted, feminist comedy that manages to balance serious politics with a sense of humor. It’s enjoyable, though maybe a little too well behaved.

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