Hunter Hunter (2020)

Hunter Hunter
Director: Shawn Linden
Writer: Shawn Linden
Cast: Camille Sullivan, Summer H. Howell, Devon Sawa, Nick Stahl, Gabriel Daniels, Lauren Cochrane
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2021
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Plot:
Joseph (Devon Sawa), Anne (Camille Sullivan) and their daughter Renee (Summer H. Howell) live off the grid, in the middle of the forest, getting by as trappers, selling the furs of the animals they catch. When they realize that a wolf is in the area, they are highly alerted, though. Anne is worried for Renee in particular, as they believe it’s a rogue wolf who is likely to attack them and who, at the very least, is a danger to their already slim livelihood. So Joseph sets out to catch the wolf.

I have rarely watched a film that left me with such a strong urge to drink something like this movie. And I actually do mean that as a compliment. It’s depressing and tense and highly effective.

The film poster showing a howling wolf, painted with white color on a black background. in front of it the silhouette of a man, and in front of that Anne (Camille Sullivan), rifle in hand.
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First Date (2021)

First Date
Director: Manuel Crosby, Darren Knapp
Writer: Manuel Crosby, Darren Knapp
Cast: Tyson Brown, Shelby Duclos, Jesse Janzen, Nicole Berry, Samuel Ademola, Ryan Quinn Adams, Angela Barber, Dave Reimer, Scott E. Noble
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2021
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Plot:
Mike (Tyson Brown) has had a crush on Kelsey (Shelby Duclos) approximately forever, but he never dared to ask her out. With a llittle pressure from his best friend, he finally calls her at least – and Kelsey actually asks him out. Mike’s joy quickly deflates when he realizes that he can’t have his parents’ car, and how can he take her out without a car? Enter Plan B: Mike needs to buy a car, quickly and very cheaply. The internet provides and Mike finds Dennis (Scott E. Noble) who sells him an old car in rather bad shape. And with the car, Mike buys a whole lot of problems that turns this date night into a night to remember indeed.

First Date is a fun, entertaining film that works mostly because Mike and Kelsey work so very well. I really enjoyed it.

The film poster showing a rose, a car and a gun with plus signs between them, adding up to a kissing couple. Everything looks like its a neon light in different colors.
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Madeo [Mother] (2009)

Madeo
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Writer: Eun-kyo Park, Bong Joon Ho
Cast: Hye-ja Kim, Won Bin, Jin Goo, Je-mun Yun, Mi-seon Jeon, Sae-byeok Song, Hee-ra Mun, Woo-hee Chun
Seen on: 19.9.2021

Content Note: cripping up, (partly critical treatment of) ableism and whoremisia

Plot:
Do-joon (Won Bin) is everything for his mother (Hye-ja Kim) who has a fiercely protective streak, despite him being grown up. But he also has a learning disability, and tends to get in trouble together with his best friend Jin-tae (Jin Goo), so she has good reasons not to let go. When a neighborhood girl turns up dead, and a golf ball with Do-joon’s name is found next to her, he is arrested. His mother is certain that Do-joon is being framed and is determined to get to the bottom of things.

Mother is an unusual crime movie. Unusual in the way it is told, but also unusual in the story it tells. This unusualness makes it enjoyable for crime fans and those (like me) who aren’t that much into crime as a genre.

The film poster showing Yoon Do-joon (Won Bin) huddling behind his mother (Hye-ja Kim).
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Buster’s Mal Heart (2016)

Buster’s Mal Heart
Director: Sarah Adina Smith
Writer: Sarah Adina Smith
Cast: Rami Malek, DJ Qualls, Kate Lyn Sheil, Sukha Belle Potter, Toby Huss, Lin Shaye, Lily Gladstone
Seen on: 9.9.2021

Plot:
Buster (Rami Malek) has made a name for himself by taking over summer holiday homes during winter. He’s been at it for years and has managed to evade capture so far. But it wasn’t always like this. Before that, he used to be Jonah. Jonah worked as a night receptionist in a hotel, trying to care for his wife Marty (Kate Lyn Sheil) and daughter Roxy (Sukha Belle Potter). But the constant night-shifts and the lack of sleep were starting to get to him. To get through the dreary nights, he starts talking to a guest who simply refers to himself as The Last Free Man (DJ Qualls) and believes that The Inversion is coming.

I saw Sarah Adina Smith’s first film The Midnight Swim many years ago, but it’s really one of those films that absolutely stayed with me. So, when I realized that her second film – Buster’s Mal Heart – was available on Netflix, I had to watch it immediately. And while it wasn’t quite as captivating as The Midnight Swim for me, it was absolutely captivating enough.

The film poster showing Buster (Rami Malek), his face distorted as if caught on a crappy videotape.
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Destroyer (2018)

Destroyer
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Scoot McNairy, Bradley Whitford, Toby Huss
Seen on: 1.9.2021

Plot:
Erin (Nicole Kidman) is a police officer, only barely holding herself together. When a body turns up with markings that connect it to an undercover case from the very beginning of Erin’s career, she re-opens the investigation, she knows that her past has finally caught up with her – and that she may finally set things right.

Destroyer very cleverly cast Nicole Kidman against type, but I often felt that it relies to hard on that cleverness, on Kidman’s sallow looks. It is a decent crime movie, but it could have been a little more.

The film poster showing a close-up of half of Erin's (Nicole Kidman) face with deep shadows under her eyes in blue and red light.
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Reminiscence (2021)

Reminiscence
Director: Lisa Joy
Writer: Lisa Joy
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Marina de Tavira, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Natalie Martinez, Angela Sarafyan
Seen on: 31.8.2021

Plot:
In a Miami almost entirely drowned Nick (Hugh Jackman) and his employee Watts (Thandiwe Newton) run a small reminiscence business. Their clients come to relive their memories in the most realistic way possible with them. Everything changes for Nick the day that Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) comes in, hoping to find her lost keys. Nick and Mae become very close – until Mae disappears, leaving Nick scrambling to understand what happened with her, with them. Unable to let go, he digs into her past and uncovers more than he bargained for.

I had not realized going into the film that it was a noir set in the future. If I had, I may have liked it a little better, but fact is, I usually don’t like noirs and Reminiscence reminded me again why that is.

The film poster showing Nick (Hugh Jackman) standing with a gun in his hand, pointed at the floor. Behind him is a half-submerged street with boats and the other main characters are superimposed over the setting orange sun.
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Promising Young Woman (2020)

Promising Young Woman
Director: Emerald Fennell
Writer: Emerald Fennell
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Adam Brody, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Max Greenfield, Chris Lowell, Molly Shannon, Alfred Molina
Seen on: 23.8.2021

Content Note: rape, rape culture

Plot:
Cassandra (Carey Mulligan) has a hobby: she goes out a lot, pretends to be drunk and waits until a man tries to pick her up and fuck, or rather rape her. Then she confronts him about his actions. Other than that, her life is pretty uneventful. She lives with her parents (Clancy Brown, Jennifer Cooldige) and works in a coffeeshop. When Ryan (Bo Burnham) comes into the coffeeshop one day, he recognizes her from college and asks Cassie out. This reconnection to her own past has unforeseen consequences for both of them.

Promising Young Woman is a strong film that is definitely worth seeing, even though it doesn’t come without flaws. It certainly leaves an impression and opens up a discussion.

The film poster showing the film title as if written with lipstick, inlcuding a lip print. behind this we can see Cassandra (Carey Mulligan) unfocused, lipstick in hand.
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Heat (1995)

Heat
Director: Michael Mann
Writer: Michael Mann
Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Dennis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Natalie Portman, Tom Noonan, Kevin Gage, Hank Azaria, Susan Traylor, Kim Staunton, Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins
Seen on: 2.8.2021

Plot:
Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is a professional bank robber and he is very good at running things. But at his latest job, one of his men lost control, turning the job into a bloodbath that puts Lt Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) on the scene. And Vincent is just as good at his job as Neil. When he actually picks up Neil’s trail, Neil has to decide if he can walk away from the heat – or if he needs to take his chances with it.

Heat is the kind of film that regularly shows up on The Best Movies lists, so I decided to give it a try despite the fact I knew that it sounded like a whole lot of “not my cup of tea”. Well, I guess it wasn’t even enough of my tea for me to see why it comes so highly recommended. It just didn’t work for me.

The film poster showing Vincent (Al Pacino), Neil (Robert De Niro) and Chris (Val Kilmer) in black and blue, above an image of a train at night.
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Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse [The Testament of Dr. Mabuse] (1933)

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse
Director: Fritz Lang
Writer: Thea von Harbou
Based on: Norbert Jacquescharacter
Cast: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gustav Diessl, Rudolf Schündler, Otto Wernicke, Oscar Beregi Sr., Oskar Höcker, Wera Liessem, Theodor Loos, Karl Meixner
Seen on: 26.7.2021

Plot:
Hofmeister (Karl Meixner) knows that he is on the trail of something big – something that could get him back into the good graces of Inspector Lohmann (Otto Wernicke). There is a man who controls the crime in the city and Hofmeister has discovered his name: Mabuse. Only before he can tell Lohmann all about it, Hofmeister is attacked. And Mabuse is a psychiatric patient under the care of Professor Baum (Oscar Beregi Sr.) with a brilliant criminal mind, but no way to communicate with anyone, much less outside the hospital. Lohmann can’t make heads or tails of this story – but the crimes continue.

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse is a German cinema classic and it’s easy to see why, even apart from its political history. Mabuse is an interesting character – kind of a proto-Joker, I’d say – and the film has very imaginative cinematography.

The film poster showing a drawing of a face within a face.
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Project Power (2020)

Project Power
Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Writer: Mattson Tomlin
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback, Rodrigo Santoro, Courtney B. Vance, Amy Landecker, Machine Gun Kelly
Seen on: 23.7.2021

Plot:
There’s a new drug making the rounds – a drug that give you extraordinary powers for exactly five minutes, although you won’t know which powers you’ll get until you try. Robin (Dominique Fishback) is trying to safe some money by selling some of it. One of her customers is police officer Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is afraid that the police is outmatched if they don’t use the drug themselves, but who is very interested in finding the people behind the drug. Equally interested, but for very different reasons, is Art (Jamie Foxx), an ex-soldier. By chance, Robin brings Frank and Art together – and they start to investigate.

Project Power is okay. It’s neither particularly good, nor particularly bad, although it has moments of both.

The film poster showing Robin (Dominique Fishback), Art (Jamie Foxx) and Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) standing in a vague V-formation with Art at the center-front, holding up a glowing pill.

[Slight SPOILERS]

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