Meditation Park (2017)

Meditation Park
Director: Mina Shum
Writer: Mina Shum
Cast: Pei-Pei Cheng, Tzi Ma, Sandra Oh, Don McKellar, Zak Santiago, Jemmy Chen, Lillian Lim, Alannah Ong, Sharmaine Yeoh
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 6.3.2018
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Plot:
Maria (Pei-Pei Cheng) and Bing (Tzi Ma) have been married for many years and things are fine. That is, until Maria suspects that Bing has been having an affair. As Maria questions her marriage, she starts to question her entire life – and decides to make some changes. She takes up a job, makes friends and goes for a fresh start.

Meditation Park is a Coming of Age story, with the twist that the person coming of age is definitely not a teenager, but a middle-aged to older woman. It’s a spin on the story I very much loved, as I loved the entire film.

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Kosmonautensehnsucht (2016)

Kosmonautensehnsucht [literally: Cosmonaut Longing]
Director: Catharina Göldner
Writer: Catharina Göldner
Cast: Katharina Behrens, Jan Jaroszek, Nadja Stübinger, Moritz Vierboom, Ina Tempel, Alexander Höchst, Ruth Bickelhaupt, Annekatrin Grimm
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2018
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Plot:
Miriam (Katharina Behrens) works as a stage manager in the theater. When it closes over the summer, Miriam has nothing to do but wait that her big love, a cosmonaut, returns to earth. But she’s keeping her waiting and summer becomes really long. And when an astrologist tells her that the cosmonaut isn’t the person for, instead she has to find somebody who was born January 19, 1985 at 3.30am. So Miriam starts looking.

Kosmonautensehnsucht is only 60 minutes long and has absolutely no budget to speak of and yet it manages to be one of the most charming, strong films I’ve seen in a long time. A wonderful little film.

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Sztuka kochania. Historia Michaliny Wislockiej [The Art of Loving. Story of Michalina Wislocka] (2017)

Sztuka kochania
Director: Maria Sadowska
Writer: Krzysztof Rak, Blazej Dzikowski, Krzysztof Bernas, Dominika Hilszczanska
Based on: Violetta Ozminkowski’s novel Michalina Wislocka. Sztuka kochania gorszycielki
Cast: Magdalena Boczarska, Piotr Adamczyk, Eryk Lubos, Dorota Kolak, Justyna Wasilewska, Danuta Stenka, Jasmina Polak
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2018
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Plot:
Michalina Wislocka (Magdalena Boczarska) is a gynaecologist and in her practice, she has seen a lot of problems, a lot of which stem from a lack of knowledge. So she decides to publish a sex education book. But that’s easier said than done in communist Poland, especially with a book that is both frank, includes graphics and focus on female lust and orgasms. But Michalina is a fighter and she won’t take no for an answer.

The Art of Loving is political, feminist and incredibly funny, staying emotionally with its characers while making its points in the most charming way.

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The Post (2017)

The Post
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Zach Woods, Pat Healy
Seen on: 1.3.2018
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Plot:
Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) has anonymously leaked documents to the New York Times that prove the atrocities of the USA in Vietnam. The Post, newly managed by Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) who took over after the death of her husband, doesn’t want to fall behind and finds Ellsberg for more information. Soon The Post finds itself under big pressure from the government not to publish and Kay has to make big decisions.

The Post is a film full of pathos. There’s nothing wrong with that and it works emotionally. It’s just a little too safe in its choices, making it feel a little dusty. But (unfortunately) not out of date.

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Re-Watch: Momo (1986)

Momo
Director: Johannes Schaaf
Writer: Johannes Schaaf, Rosemarie Fendel, Michael Ende, Marcello Coscia
Based on: Michael Ende‘s novel
Cast: Radost Bokel, Mario Adorf, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sylvester Groth, Leopoldo Trieste, Ninetto Davoli, Concetta Russino, Bruno Stori, Francesco De Rosa, Elide Melli, Pietro Tordi, Hartmut Kollakowsky, John Huston
Seen on: 24.2.2018
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Plot:
Momo (Radost Bokel) lives on her own in a ruin in the center of the village. She knows everybody in town. In fact, everbody knows each other and takes care of each other, not minding that all the social niceties do take time. But the town’s slow pace is disrupted when mysterious gray men show up and make it clear to everybody how much time they are wasting. There’s only Momo who can try and get rid of them.

Momo is one of my childhood favorites, so when they announced a special screening at the cinema, I knew I wanted to catch it on the big screen. And it was a great opportunity to see a film that still holds up wonderfully.

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The Wedding Party (2016)

The Wedding Party
Director: Kemi Adetiba
Writer: Kemi Adetiba, Tosin Otudeko
Cast: Alibaba Akporobome, Zainab Balogun, Stephen Damian, Daniella Down, Iretiola Doyle, Emmanuel Edunjobi, Adesua Etomi, Kunle Idowu, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Beverly Naya, Enyinna Nwigwe, Ikechukwu Onunaku, Sola Sobowale, Banky Wellington
Seen on: 18.2.2018
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Plot:
Dunni (Adesua Etomi) is about to marry Dozie (Banky Wellington) despite their differences: Dunni has been saving herself for marriage, while Dozie is looking back on a past as a major player. Also, Dunni doesn’t have much in the way of money, while Dozie comes from a very wealthy family. But families are part of weddings, too, and Dozie’s family really isn’t happy with the match.

The Wedding Party is a Nigerian film by a woman, which is pretty awesome. But everything else about it is utterly derivative and pretty boring. I felt like I forgot it as I was watching it.

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The Shape of Water (2017)

The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Hewlett
Seen on: 15.2.2018
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Plot:
Elisa (Sally Hawkins) works as a cleaning lady in a big research facility. That facility has recently become the home, or rather prison, of a mysterious sea creature (Doug Jones) that the scientists want to study and exploit. Elisa discovers the creature by chance, but she quickly becomes friends with him, teaching him sign language. But the facility, and above all Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon) have plans for the creature – and they are not necessarily humane.

I liked The Shape of Water in many things, but I found its treatment of disability absolutely problematic – and that soured things considerably for me. I still ended up finding it mostly sweet, but it should have been better about that.

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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
Director: Curtis Hanson
Writer: Amanda Silver
Cast: Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay, Matt McCoy, Ernie Hudson, Julianne Moore, Madeline Zima, John de Lancie
Seen on: 11.2.2018
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Plot:
Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra) is very happy with her husband Michael (Matt McCoy), and of course their 6-year-old daughter Emma (Madeline Zima). She’s also pregnant again. But when she goes to see her gynaecologist, Dr Mott (John De Lancie), he sexually assaults her. Claire calls in the authorities and Mott commits suicide to escape the scandal. Months later, Mott’s widow (Rebecca De Mornay) comes to the Bartels’ house to work as a nanny under a false name. Not knowing who she actually is, Claire hires her, giving her the perfect opportunity to get revenge for her ruined life.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is simply awful. Misogynistic and stupid on some many levels, I could barely stand it. It’s a catastrophe.

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Life Guidance (2017)

Life Guidance
Writer: Ruth Mader
Director: Martin Leidenfrost, Ruth Mader
Cast: Fritz Karl, Katharina Lorenz, Florian Teichtmeister, Nicolas Jarosch, Petra Morzé, Udo Samel, Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, Johann Adam Oest
Seen on: 22.1.2018
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Plot:
Alexander (Fritz Karl) is married to Anna (Katharina Lorenz). They have a son (Nicolas Jarosch) and by the looks of it, their life is pretty much perfect. But then Alexander says something that worries Life Guidance, the organisation in charge of helping people living the best life they can possibly live. They send in their agent, Gregor (Florian Teichtmeister), to make sure that Alexander stays on track.

I wanted to like Life Guidance – being an Austrian Science Fiction film made by a woman – much more than I actually did. While it has strong parts, it just doesn’t come together as it should.

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The Ugly Truth (2009)

The Ugly Truth
Director: Robert Luketic
Writer: Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah, Kirsten Smith
Cast: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner, Eric Winter, Nick Searcy, Jesse D. Goins, Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins, Yvette Nicole Brown
Seen on: 21.1.2018
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Plot:
Abby (Katherine Heigl) is a producer of a morning show. Due to faltering ratings of said show, her boss hires Mike (Gerard Butler), whose claim to fame is hosting The Ugly Truth, a show that tackles matters of relationships in a very male, if not misogynistic way. Abby is outraged at this choice of host. But since she herself doesn’t do very well in matters of relationships either, pining after her neighbor Colin (Eric Winter) who she thinks of as the perfect man, she strikes a deal with Mike at his suggestion: he will help her reel in Colin, and she will work with him.

The Ugly Truth is absolutely horrible. It bowled me over with its hatred masquerading as some good old fun. It’s sexist and misogynistic. It’s so bad, it even makes a case that misandry does, in fact, exist. I hated it.

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