Axolotl Overkill (2017)

Axolotl Overkill
Director: Helene Hegemann
Writer: Helene Hegemann
Based on: Helene Hegemann‘s novel Axolotl Roadkill
Cast: Jasna Fritzi BauerArly JoverLaura TonkeJulius FeldmeierMavie HörbigerSabine VituaBernhard Schütz
Seen on: 13.10.2017

Mifti (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) lives with her brother (Julius Feldmeier) and sister (Laura Tonke), their rich father (Bernhard Schütz) having other ideas of how to spend his time than with his children. Mifti drifts through Berlin, barely going to school. But when she does, she meets Ophelia (Mavie Hörbiger), an actress who has been sentenced to community hours in the school kitchen. The two start drifting through Berlin’s club scene together. It’s around that time that Mifti also meets the intriguing, much older Alice (Arly Jover) in the supermarket who sparks her fantasies.

Axolotl Overkill is a fascinating, well-made film that is a little marred by its author/director. But that shouldn’t keep you from seeing it.

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Love Steaks (2013)

Love Steaks
Director: Jakob Lass
Writer: Jakob Lass, Ines SchillerTimon SchäppiNico Woche
Cast: Lana CooperFranz RogowskiKerstin AbendrothDaniel AlznauerEric PoppRalf Winter
Seen on: 11.10.2017

Clemens (Franz Rogowski) just started working at a spa hotel. He is allowed to stay in a small storage room there and starts learning. But when the meek Clemens meets the rebellious Lara (Lana Cooper) who works in the kitchen, sparks start flying. As the two get more and more wrapped into each other, that spark between them starts to cause chaos in the entire hotel.

Love Steaks wasn’t my cup of tea. Difficult people in broken relationships is an interesting topic but if you try to sell it to me as romance, I’m out. And that’s what happened here.

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Laissez bronzer les cadavres [Let the Corpses Tan] (2017)

Laissez bronzer les cadavres
Director: Hélène CattetBruno Forzani
Writer: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Based on: Jean-Pierre Bastid and Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel
Cast: Elina LöwensohnStéphane FerraraBernie BonvoisinMichelangelo MarcheseMarc BarbéMarine SainsilyHervé SognePierre NisseAline StevensDorylia Calmel
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2017

Rhino (Stéphane Ferrara) has stolen 250kg of gold with his gang and they have scoped out the perfect hiding place: a mostly abandoned village where artiste Luce (Elina Löwensohn) has set up camp. But as things are wont to do, they don’t go according to plan. So what should have been a done deal turns into a tense battle.

Laissez bronzer les cadavres is a beautiful, stunning, gorgeous film that bored me half to death. I really didn’t know what to do with it.

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Bitch (2017)

Director: Marianna Palka
Writer: Marianna Palka
Cast: Marianna Palka, Jason RitterJaime KingBrighton SharbinoRio ManginiKingston FosterJason MaybaumSol Rodriguez
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2017

Jill (Marianna Palka) is a mother of three who tries to keep it all together while her husband Bill (Jason Ritter) is away for work, and for his own fun. But she struggles increasingly until one day she just snaps and leaves her old life behind by starting to live as a feral dog. Bill calls in her sister Beth (Jaime King) to help, but the entire family is overwhelmed by the situation.

I enjoyed Bitch. It was a strong, often funny and definitely critical film that has a lot to say and does so in an entertaining way.

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Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2017

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2017 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Rémy Rondeau for his short J’aime Eva Marsh.
Seen on: 22.9.2017, 25.9.2017, 26.9.2017

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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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