Morgen ist auch noch ein Tag, wenn du willst [Postcards from Sicily] (2020)

Morgen ist auch noch ein Tag, wenn du willst [literally: Tomorrow is another day, if you want]
Director: David Gräber
Writer: Andreas Neu
Cast: Hannah Zieziula, Christina Völz, Bo Anderl
Part of: Transition Queer Filmfestival
Seen on: 11.7.2021

Plot:
Claudia (Hannah Zieziula) and Marcus (Bo Anderl) have been dating for a while, but their relationship isn’t at its best anymore. Marcus feels that Claudia is distant, so he seeks to reconnect with his ex-girlfriend Jana (Christina Völz). What he doesn’t know is that Claudia is distant because she, too, met Jana and fell in love with her – and vice versa. Marcus, living out of his van, takes turn staying with the two women, but he can’t stop them both from turning away from him.

Postcards from Sicily didn’t work for me. I found it very tiring and couldn’t get into the story or the characters.

The film poster showing Marcus' van from above. Marcus (Bo Anderl) is lying on the roof, smoking, while Claudia (Hannah Zieziula) and Jana (Christina Völz) are standing in the open doors looking up at the sky.
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Kapana (2020)

Kapana
Director: Philippe Talavera
Writer: Senga Brockerhoff, Mikiros Garoes
Cast: Adriano Visagie, Simon Hanga, Mikiros Garoes, Dawie Engelbrecht, Foreversun Haiduwah, Albertina Hainane, Felicity Celento, Elize de Wee, Jeremiah Jeremiah, Lukas Paulus
Part of: Transition Queer Film Festival
Seen on: 11.7.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia

Plot:
George (Adriano Visagie) and Simeon (Simon Hanga) meet in a bar. They flirt, they have sex. They don’t really expect more, especially not in Namibia where homosexuality is criminalized. But then they run into each other again when George comes to buy Kapana for his lunch break, and finds that Simeon is the one who is selling it. Simeon panics, he isn’t out to anyone in his life, but George finds a way and they start dating. Only, George has a secret, and this could threaten to end things between them before they ever really started.

Kapana is a very sweet film that tries to deal with a lot of stuff in its short runtime, but also keeps its emotional side in sight. I really liked it.

The film poster showing Simeon (Simon Hanga) selling Kapana, grilled meat.
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The Craft (1996)

The Craft
Director: Andrew Fleming
Writer: Peter Filardi, Andrew Fleming
Cast: Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, Christine Taylor, Breckin Meyer, Nathaniel Marston, Cliff De Young, Assumpta Serna
Seen on: 10.7.2021

Content Note: ableism, (critical treatment of) racism

Plot:
Sarah (Robin Tunney) and her family just moved to a new town, and her first day at her new Catholic private school is an anxious thing. It seems to be going well, when football star Chris (Skeet Ulrich) flirts with her in her lunch break. But at the same time, she also catches the eye of Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Nancy (Fairuza Balk), and Rochelle (Rachel True) who practice witchcraft and are sure that Sarah is the fourth that they have been missing to cast the really powerful spells. At least, Bonnie is sure about it, while Nancy is more doubtful. Nevertheless, they approach Sarah – a decision that changes all of their lives.

The Craft is far from a good film, but it has garnered a bit of a cult following, which made me want to see it anyway. I’m not sure if I get the cult, but there is something about The Craft for sure.

The film poster showing Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Sarah (Robin Tunney) and Rochelle (Rachel True) walking through a thunderstorm with a lot of lightning.
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Shiva Baby (2020)

Shiva Baby
Director: Emma Seligman
Writer: Emma Seligman
Cast: Rachel Sennott, Danny Deferrari, Fred Melamed, Polly Draper, Molly Gordon, Glynis Bell, Rita Gardner, Cilda Shaur, Jackie Hoffman, Dianna Agron
Seen on: 9.7.2021

Plot:
Danielle (Rachel Sennott) is a student, just trying to figure out what she wants to do after college. Meanwhile, she has a rather comfortabel arrangement with Max (Danny Deferrari), her sugar daddy. When Danielle’s parents Joel (Fred Melamed) and Debbie (Polly Draper) insist that she come to a shiva with them, Danielle things she is dealing with the worst when her parents keep trying to finde her a job and she runs into her ex-girlfriend Maya (Molly Gordon) there. But then Max shows up as well – with his wife (Dianna Agron) and baby.

Shiva Baby is billed as a comedy, but the parts that stood out to me the most were the uncomfortable ones, and not the funny ones. In any case, for a debut feature by a very young director, it shows a lot of promise.

The film poster showing Danielle (Rachel Sennott)in a dress made of cream cheese and bagels, holding up a bagel.
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Blue Boy (2019)

Blue Boy
Director: Manuel Abramovich
Writer: Manuel Abramovich
Seen on: 9.7.2021

Content Note: homomisia

“Plot”:
Abramovich interviewed male sex workers in Blue Boy bar in Berlin, then showed them their statements and filmed them while they watched it. The film shows them reacting to their own statements.

Blue Boy chose an interesting format to capture its subjects, opening up the gulf between talking a good game and then listening to yourself talk. The statements they give are as different as their reactions to themselves – from embarrassment to careful neutrality that can’t quite cover the fact that they are having a very emotional reaction, but don’t want to share what it is. While their statements give us an insight into their work life – from chatting up clients to police harrassment -, their reactions give us a look at who they are as people. A careful balance that Abramovich captures impressively.

The film poster, showing the title in big, loopy letters, with two eyes, cut out from a newspaper, peeking out between the two words.

To the Bone (2017)

To the Bone
Director: Marti Noxon
Writer: Marti Noxon
Cast: Lily Collins, Alex Sharp, Keanu Reeves, Carrie Preston, Liana Liberato, Retta, Leslie Bibb, Lili Taylor
Seen on: 7.7.2021

Content Note: eating disorders, ableism

Plot:
Ellen (Lily Collins) has been struggling with anorexia for a while now, but she hasn’t made much headway. Only her sister Kelly (Liana Liberato) and her stepmother Susan (Carrie Preston) seem to have some hope left that Ellen might make it after all. When Susan drags her to yet another doctor, Ellen isn’t particularly interested. But Dr Beckham (Keanu Reeves) takes a more unusual approach and Ellen agrees to another rehab. One last attempt to get her weight up and her eating under control.

To the Bone gets some things very right, others not so much. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it doesn’t develop enough power to really work.

The film poster showing Ellen (Lily Collins) in profile. Her face is a photo, but the rest of her is a pencil sketch.
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Things Heard & Seen (2021)

Things Heard & Seen
Director: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Writer: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Based on: Elizabeth Brundage’s novel All Things Cease to Appear
Cast: James Norton, Amanda Seyfried, Rhea Seehorn, Natalia Dyer, Ana Sophia Heger, Karen Allen, F. Murray Abraham, Alex Neustaedter, Jack Gore, James Urbaniak
Seen on: 6.7.2021

Content Note: domestic violence, abuse, eating disorder

Plot:
George (James Norton), Catherine (Amanda Seyfried) and their daughter Franny (Ana Sophia Heger) move from New York City to a small town where George was offered a teaching position at a small art college. Catherine, an artist herself, is reluctant about the move, but feels that she owes it to George to try. And Franny will probably enjoy living in a house with a garden. But after their arrival, Catherine gets the feeling that something is going on at their house, and with George.

Things Heard & Seen is a haunted house story in a double sense: it’s literally haunted by spirits, and figuratively haunted by the violence that occurs in it. This works surprisingly well together, though I didn’t like the ending all that much.

The film poster showing Catherine (Amanda Seyfried) superimposed over a house in the distance. Much smaller next to her face is George (James Norton) carrying their daughter Franny (Ana Sophia Heger).
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American Mary (2012)

American Mary
Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Writer: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Cast: Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Tristan Risk, David Lovgren, Paula Lindberg, Clay St. Thomas, John Emmet Tracy, Twan Holliday, Nelson Wong, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Russ Foxx
Seen on: 4.7.2021

Content Note: rape, whoremisia

Plot:
Mary (Katharine Isabelle) is a promising medical student but she struggles to make her student loan payments. Hoping for some quick cash, she decides to apply for a job as a stripper in Billy’s (Antonio Cupo) club. Instead he asks her for an impromptu backroom surgery. At least the compensation is enough to keep Mary over water for a while. When Mary is contacted by Beatriss (Tristan Risk), one of Billy’s employees, for another kind of surgery, she isn’t willing to participate at first, but she can hardly afford to say no to the money Beatriss offers. Soon Mary is deeply involved in the body mod scene.

American Mary has been on my watchlist since about forever, and I finally got around to it, and I’m glad I did, even though I didn’t like everything about it.

The film poster showing Mary (Katharine Isabelle) surgery tools in hand, wearing a mask and an apron over a business outfit.

[SPOILERS]

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Advantageous (2015)

Advantageous
Director: Jennifer Phang
Writer: Jacqueline Kim, Jennifer Phang
Cast: Jacqueline Kim, Samantha Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Jennifer Ikeda
Seen on: 2.7.2021

Plot:
Gwen (Jacqueline Kim) has been the face for a big cosmetics and aesthetic surgery company for a while and she hopes that with the introduction of a revolutionary new product, she will get a raise – a raise that would mean that her daughter Jules (Samantha Kim) could afford to continue to go to school. Instead Gwen is informed that she has become too old for the job, making her consider some very risky options for Jules’s sake.

Advantageous is a really excellent Science Fiction film, in both the sense that it is just a good movie and that it builds a very interesting, and scarily realistic future. The pacing isn’t perfect, but other than that, I really liked it.

The film poster showing a large letter A in front of a light blue wallpaper-like background. Inside the letter A, we can see Gwen (Jacqueline Kim) wearing a strange cap with wires coming from it.
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Re-Watch: The School of Rock (2003)

The School of Rock
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Mike White
Cast: Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Lucas Babin, Jordan-Claire Green, Veronica Afflerbach, Miranda Cosgrove, Joey Gaydos Jr., Robert Tsai, Angelo Massagli, Kevin Alexander Clark, Maryam Hassan, Caitlin Hale
Seen on: 30.6.2021

Content Note: misogyny

Plot:
Dewey (Jack Black) is a passionate musician, playing guitar in a band that has grown tired of his antics, feeling that he is holding them back with his talk about real rock instead of going in a more crowd-pleasing direction. That’s why they kick him out just before a big music contest. Hurt, Dewey withdraws to Ned’s (Mike White), where he lives for the moment, much to the chagrin of Ned’s girlfriend Patty (Sarah Silverman) who would like to see Ned, a substitute teacher, in a more settled position without any old friends who are freeloading. In short, Dewey needs a job, so when Ned gets a call to substitute at a prestigious school, Dewey pretends to be him. And when he realizes that the kids he should be teaching are actually good musicians, he hatched a plan to fulfill his dream after all.

I saw The School of Rock for the first time not long after it came out and I remembered it quite fondly. So when I was in the mood for a nice comedy, I decided to give it another try. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite hold up as well as I’d hoped, even if it is still pretty entertaining.

The film poster showing Dewey (Jack Black) in his teacher outfit with a guitar, in a full-on rocker pose. Behind him, we can see 8 children dressed as rockstars themselves.
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